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boats, and several bridges over the James-River canal. For lack of blasting-materials he was unable to destroy the aqueduct over the Rivanna river. It was solid enough to have delayed him at least forty-eight hours. The bridge over the James river to Elk Island he burned, and damaged the locks and gates of the canal as far as possible. He returned to Thompson's Cross-roads the same day with W. H. Fitz Lee at his heels.
Capt. Harrison, with a part of Buford's reserves, had, on May 4, somewhat of a skirmish with the enemy at Fleming's Cross-roads; but without effect upon the movements of the command. And another squadron crossed sabres with the enemy at Shannon's.
Such prisoners as were captured by any of the parties, were paroled at the time. A considerable number captured by Stoneman were sent to Richmond in one party, with word that the Union cavalry was following close
To quote Stoneman's own reasons, the six days' rations with which he left camp, having now been consumed, (though it would seem that there had been ample opportunity to collect as much more as was necessary from the stores destroyed); Hooker not having come up as expected; vague rumors having reached him of the defeat of the Army of the Potomac; having accomplished, as he deemed, all that he was sent to do; Averell having been withdrawn, thus leaving Lee ready to attack him, - Stoneman sent Buford with six hundred and fifty picked men to the vicinity of Gordonsville, and a small party out the Bowling-Green road, and marched his main body to Orange Court House.
At noon of the 6th, he assembled his entire command at Orange Springs; thence marched to Raccoon Ford, and crossed on the 7th.
On the 8th, the command crossed the Rappahannock at Kelly's, having to swim about twenty yards.
Leaving Buford to guard the river from the railroad to Falmouth, he then returned to camp.
During the latter part of the time occupied by these movements, the roads had been in very bad order from the heavy rains of the 5th.
Hotchkiss and Allen say, with reference to this raid: " This failure is the more surprising from the fact that Gen. Lee had but two regiments of cavalry, those under W. H. Fitz Lee, to oppose to the large force under Stoneman, consisting of ten or eleven thousand men. The whole country in rear of the Confederate Army, up to the very fortifications of Richmond, was open to the invader. Nearly all the transportation of that army was collected at Guineas depot, eighteen miles from Chancellorsville, with little or no guard, and might have been destroyed by one-fourth of Stoneman's force.”
And further :
"Such was the condition of the railroads and the scarcity of supplies in the country, that the Confederate commander could never accumulate more than a few days' rations ahead at Fredericksburg. To have interrupted his communications for any length of time, would have imperilled his army, or forced him to retreat.”
They also claim that this column seized all the property that could be of use, found in their line of march. “The citizens were in many cases entirely stripped of the necessaries of life.”
Stoneman certainly misconceived his orders. These were plainly enough to throw bis main body in Lee's rear, so as substantially to cut his communications by the Fredericksburg and Richmond Railroad. To accomplish this, he was to mask his movement by a body of troops, which should keep whatever Confederate cavalry there might be in the vicinity of Orange Court House and Gordonsville, busy, until his main column was beyond their reach, and then should rejoin him; and to select a rallying point on the Pamunkey, so as to be near the important scene of operations. . Every thing was to be subordinate to cutting the Fredericksburg and Richmond Railroad.
If Stoneman had properly digested his orders, and həd pushed night and day for any available point on the Fredericksburg and Richmond Railroad, he might have reached it by Sunday. A thorough destruction of Lee's line of supply and retreat, would no doubt have so decidedly affected his strength, actual and moral, as to have seriously changed the vigor of his operations against both Hooker and Sedgwick.
Stoneman barely had time, from the lateness of his date of starting, to accomplish great results before Hooker was substantially beaten; but it would appear that he could have materially contributed to lessen the disastrous nature of the defeat, if no more.
His movements were characterized by great weakness. He did not seem to understand, that safety as well as success depended upon moving with a body large enough to accomplish results. Instead of this, he sent, to perform the most important work, bodies so small as to be unable to destroy bridges, when guarded by a few companies of infantry and a couple of guns.
And the damage done appears to have all been repaired by the time the raiders got back to camp.
Hooker's criticism in this instance is quite just: “On the 4th, the cavalry column, under Gen. Stoneman, commenced its return. One party of it, under Gen. Kilpatrick, crossed the Aquia and Richmond Railroad; and the fact that on the 5th, the cars carried the rebel wounded and our prisoners over the road to Richmond, will show to what extent the enemy's communications had been interrupted. An examination of the instructions Gen. Stoneman received, in connection with the official report of his operations, fully sustains me in saying that no officer ever made a greater mistake in construing his orders, and no one ever accomplished less in so doing. The effect of throwing his body of cavalry in the rear of the enemy, and on his communications, at the time it was in his power to have done it, can readily be estimated. But instead, that important arm of the army became crippled to an extent which seriously embarrassed me in my subsequent operations. Soon after, Gen. Stoneman applied for and obtained a sick-leave; and I requested that it might be indefinitely extended to him. It is charitable to suppose that Gens. Stoneman and Averell did not read their orders, and determined to carry on operations in conformity with their own views and inclinations."
HOOKER'S RÉSUMÉ OF THE CAMPAIGN.
EARLY two years after this campaign, in his testi
mony before the Committee on the Conduct of the War, Hooker thus speaks about the general result of the movement:
"I may say here, the battle of Chancellorsville has been associated with the battle of Fredericksburg, and has been called a disaster. My whole loss in the battle of Chancellorsville was a little over seventeen thousand.”
"I said that Chancellorsville had been called a disaster. I lost under those operations, one piece artillery, I think five or six wagons, and one ambulance.” “In my opinion, there is nothing to regret in regard to Chancellorsville, except to accomplish all I moved to accomplish. The troops lost no honor, except one corps, and we lost no more men than the enemy; but expectation was high, the army in splendid condition, and great results were expected from it. It was at a time, too, when the nation required a victory.” “I would like to speak somewhat further of this matter of Chancellorsville. It has been the desire and aim of some of Gen. McClellan's admirers, and I do not know but of others, to circulate erroneous