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1863. wounded, one of whom died a few days after. It having
been demonstrated by this movement that the enemy were still in force at this point, we returned to the earthworks.
During the night the regiment was several times called to arms, while attacks were being made and repulsed on our right.
Another day spent in the trenches. The weather was Tuesday, excessively hot until about 3 P.M., when a thunderMay 5.
shower came up and drenched us to the skin. As the
water poured into the trenches we were forced to evacuate them until we could make them habitable by draining. As darkness came on, the showers were succeeded by a cold north-east storm, and through the long dreary night we sat on the edge of the trenches, ready to jump into them at the first alarm. Orders were received about 8 P.M. to retreat, and we marched about three miles when information was received that the river had risen to such a height as to make it impracticable for the army to cross; so we marched back to the trenches, where we remained until 3 o'clock in the morning.
Whatever the hereafter may have in store for us as punishment for our misdemeanors, we sincerely trust that credit may be given for this night of misery. In the three years' service of the regiment it would be difficult to recall a night that seemed longer or where there was more physical discomfort. Wearied and dejected, drenched with the cold rain, in expectation to move at any moment, we still stayed and stayed and stayed. While we
were in the trenches, information was received that Stonewall Jackson was killed. It used to be a common saying in the Army of the Potomac that in order to reach Richmond we should have to go “over a Stonewall, two Hills, and a Longstreet." Something had therefore been accomplished for the Union cause by the battle of Chancellorsville, we had got over the “Stonewall.” The celerity with which General Jackson could move an army from one point to another was remarkable, and up to the time of his death his equal as an executive officer had not been seen. As an instance of his activity we recall, when we were at Front Royal, watching his army marching along the mountain-side between the armies of McDowell and 1863. Fremont, unmolested, - except for the feeble attack
made by Shields,- and on the following morning at daylight attacking McClellan at Hanover Court House, an air-line distance of more than ninety miles, as we learned by the newspapers two days after the event. It seemed incredible to us at the time, yet it was a fact.
Orders came at last to move. At 3 A.M. we took up Monday,
the line of march on muddy roads that were both May 6. sticky and slippery, to the United States Ford, five miles,
where we were to cross the river. Moving was better than sitting still and shaking to pieces with the cold ; but to walk on a road ankle-deep in mud, with the rain still falling, failed to lessen our misery very much. We finally reached the river without halting once, crossed on a pontoon bridge covered with pine boughs to deaden the sound, and then continued five miles farther, and halted. It was impossible to light fires, so the men munched their hardtack and raw pork, and lighted their pipes for a smoke. Some of the boys attempted sleep by sitting on knapsacks with their backs to a tree, only to tumble over in the mud when sleep overtook them. After falling into the mud a few times, a man's appearance was so ludicrous that even the most miserable could not restrain their laughter. It is under such circumstances as these that the elasticity of youth is so valuable. A man of fifty would have given up in despair. Little by little the spirit of fun was revived. Jokes on each other's appearance were bandied about, and songs at variance with our condition were sung with impromptu words. The irresistible desire for fun which possessed so many of the boys, often had a very bracing effect and restored some of the good-humor we had lost in the trenches, by which we escaped the proverbial straw that breaks the camel's back.
The march was continued to Falmouth, nine miles farther, where we halted, and where we pitched our shelters for the night. A ration of whiskey was given each man, and then we wrapped ourselves in our wet clothes and blankets, and laid down to sleep. During the night the rain came in such torrents that we were completely flooded out. Every article we owned was soaked with water, and of 1863. course further sleep was out of the question. This was
the time for Mark Tapley with his “Let us be jolly!” The following congratulatory orders by Generals Hooker and Lee, respecting the battle of Chancellorsville, will be read with interest by all who took part in that campaign :
GENERAL ORDERS, ?
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC,
CAMP NEAR FALMOUTH, VA., May 6, 1863. The Major-General commanding tenders to this army his congratulations on its achievements of the last seven days. If it has not accomplished all that was ex• pected, the reasons are well known to the army. It is sufficient to say they were of a character not to be foreseen or prevented by human sagacity or resource.
In withdrawing from the south bank of the Rappahannock before delivering a general battle to our adversaries, the army has given renewed evidence of its con. fidence in itself and its fidelity to the principles it represents. In fighting at a disadvantage, we would have been recreant to our trust, to ourselves, our cause, and our country:
Profoundly loyal, and conscious of its strength, the Army of the Potomac will give or decline battle whenever its interest or honor may demand. It will also be the guardian of its own history and its own fame.
By celerity and secrecy of movement, our advance and passage of the rivers were undisputed, and on our withdrawal not a rebel ventured to follow.
The events of the last week may swell with pride the heart of every officer and soldier of this army. We have added new lustre to its renown. We have made long marches, crossed rivers, surprised the enemy in his intrenchments, and whenever we have fought have inflicted heavier blows than we have received.
We have taken from the enemy five thousand prisoners; captured and brought off seven pieces of artillery, fifteen colors; placed hors de combat eighteen thousand of his chosen troops; destroyed his depots filled with vast amounts of stores; deranged his communications; captured prisoners within the fortifications of his capital, and filled his country with fear and consternation.
We have no other regret than that caused by the loss of our brave companions, and in this we are consoled by the conviction that they have fallen in the holiest cause ever submitted to the arbitrament of battle. By command of Major-General Hooker,
Assistant Adjutant-General. GENERAL ORDERS, HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF NORTHERN VIRGINIA,
May 7, 1863 With heartfelt gratification the General commanding expresses to the army his sense of the heroic conduct displayed by officers and men during the arduous
1863. operations in which they have just been engaged. Under trying
vicissitudes of heat and storm you attacked the enemy, strongly intrenched in the depths of a tangled wilderness, and again on the hills of Fredericksburg, fifteen miles distant, and, by valor that has triumphed on so many fields, forced him once more to seek safety beyond the Rappahannock. While this glorious victory entitles you to the praise and gratitude of the nation, we are especially called upon to return our grateful thanks to the only Giver of victory for the signal deliverance He has wrought. It is, therefore, earnestly recommended that the troops unite on Sunday next in ascribing to the Lord of Hosts the glory due unto His name.
Let us not forget in our rejoicing the brave soldiers who have fallen in defence of their country; and, while we mourn their loss, let us resolve to emulate their noble example.
The army and the country alike lament the absence for a time of one to whose bravery, energy, and skill they are so much indebted for success.
The following letter from the President of the Confederate States is communicated to the army, as an expression of his appreciation of its success:
“[GENERAL LEE: I have your despatch, and reverently unite in giving praise to God for the success with which He has crowned our arms.
“In the name of the people I offer my cordial thanks to yourself and the troops under your command for this addition to the unprecedented series of great victories which your armies have achieved.
"The universal rejoicing produced by this happy result will be mingled with a general regret for the good and the brave who are remembered among the killed and the wounded.]”.
R. E. LEE,
When daylight appeared we were sore in body and Thursday, sick at heart as we thought with mortification how little May 7.
had been accomplished since leaving our camp at
Fletcher's Chapel. When we recalled the golden promises of Hooker's manifesto, in which was stated the splendid successes that awaited us, " that the enemy must leave his intrenchments and sight or ingloriously retreat,” etc., some of the boys said, “ Yes, that's Joe Hooker. Let's have a new deal for a commander."
We had a ray of comfort in the weather, which again became warm and pleasant. This was really something to be thankful for.
About 10 o'clock we marched to White Oak Church, seven miles, and camped about a mile from our winter quarters, at Fletcher's Chapel.
WASHINGTON, June 5, 1863, 4 P.M. MAJOR-GENERAL HOOKER:
Yours of to-day was received an hour ago. So much of professional military skill is requisite to answer it, that I have turned the task over to General Halleck. He promises to perform it with his utmost care. I have but one idea which I think worth suggesting to you, and that is, in case you find Lee coming to the north of the Rappahannock, I would by no means cross to the south of it. If he should leave a rear force at Fredericksburg, tempting you to fall upon it, it would fight in intrenchments, and have you at a disadvantage, and so, man for man, worst you at that point, while his main force would in some way be getting an advantage of you northward. In one word, I would not take any risk of being entangled upon the river, like an ox jumped half over a fence and liable to be torn by dogs in front and rear, without a fair chance to gore one way or kick the other. If Lee would come to my side of the river I would keep on the same side, and fight him or act on the defence, according as might be my estimate of his strength relatively to my own. But these are mere suggestions, which I desire to be controlled by the judgment of yourself and General Halleck.