Excerpt from The Army Sketch Book: An Artist's Story of the War
We descended the hill to the river, and crossing on the pontoons, were soon on our way towards the front. We passed through the wagon-camps on a ¿at near the river, and ascending a gentle slope were soon in the d... ense woods beyond. Darkness had now fallen, and the din of the con¿ict increased, though we concluded that the enemy's advance had been checked, as the reports of firing came no nearer. Sounds rose and fell as the opposing forces changed position, coming clearly and distinctly from a wooded ridge but with muf¿ed tone from the valleys. Suddenly there came a burst of artillery, and a tremendous roar continued for one hour. Then word was received that the enemy's advance had been checked.
Suddenly we met straggling parties of demoralized troops hurrying towards the rear, and found on inquiry that the Eleventh Corps, holding the right ¿ank Of our army, had been surprised and put to rout by Stonewall Jackson, who had been making one of his famous forced marches for the purpose. These men were panic-stricken, rushing about at random with no directness of movement, their only thought being to get away from the bullets. Guards were thrown out on both sides of the road to put an end to the disgraceful confusion, and when the way was cleared we pushed forward toward the firing.
I shall never forget the scene at this point, at nine O'clock. Fires were blazing on every side, which, with the pine trees that had been ignited, so lit up the road that objects were as discernible as in the day; and surging through it all was a mass of earnest, determined men who were intent only on reaching the line of battle where they could be of service to their struggling comrades. Marching hurriedly forward, they soon came to a road leading from Ely's Ford to Chancellorsville, and deploying to right and left the lines were very shortly in such a position that the damage done by Jackson's masterly surprise was almost made good, although a last desperate attempt was made at eleven o'clock to take pos session of a plateau surrounding the Chancellorsville House.
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