Battle of Chancellorsville 1863
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A flock of birds race off skywards near the Union line on the Orange Turnpike; disturbed by the sudden booming of a Yankee battery targeting Mahone's brigade. General Lee spurs his horse, riding fast to check on his right flank. Rebel guns return fire, as silence falls for a few minutes, being quickly broken by the escalating sound of continuous fire from the south-west. Mahone takes out a pocket-watch and notes a time of 11 minutes past the hour of eleven.
Jackson rides to the Orange plank road and nods his head, as the rangy lines of soldiers pass by, some raising their hats and cheering. Brig. Gen. Heth rides up and is greeted by Jackson. “ A fair morning to you, Henry;.... yore boys not too tuckered out. ? “. Heth replies, “ An early rise and quite a march, I dare say; …..nothing, we'd not seen... many a day, …..General. “ !
Jackson points to the trailing rear of McGowan's brigade, “ Yule be in second line this day, …. Henry, on the right of McGowan's brigade ….....yore boys may garner some little repose , ….if the Yankees are jus' pickin our lines. “ Heth salutes and rides back to the head of his marching column.
On the far left of the rebel line, Brig. Gen. Wright has sent the 2nd Georgia battalion of 199 men to skirmish along the unfinished railroad. The rest of his regiments are moving towards the elongated hillock, (A), which will be a goodly position to acquire; dominating the clear ground, stretching northwards, to the crossroads by the Decker house. Marching up the track; Wright can see the men of the 4th North Carolina regiment firing from the edge of the wood-line to the north-west, and decides to turn left, using the slope of the hillock as cover, for a safe, eventual deployment into line.
Brig. Gen. Ramseur's brigade are already exchanging fire with Yankee lines in the woods before them. Two of Ramseur's regiments have had to move away to the left to allow the guns of Alexander's massed battery, a clear line of sight, to the woods.
Posey's brigade is slowly becoming engaged. The 12th Mississippi regiment acting as advance guard, moving slowly up the road , had already stopped upon sighting some movement in the trees off the road to the right, and were in the process of fixing bayonets, when a horde of Yankee infantry came rushing and hollering through the brush in amongst them. It was a ferocious set- to, having the fortune of being commanded by the temperate Lt Col. Harris, who was able to withdraw in good order, back to the support of his brigade line.
To the east of Posey's brigade' the brigades of Iverson and Doles are trampling north amongst the thick tree cover , in the general direction of a large hill , ( B ) to their front. Colquitt's brigade to the right of them, had already bumped into a line of Yankee infantry, letting off a volley, wondering how more of them there are....the woods could conceal quite a number of bluebellies.
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Fighting has become general in Stonewall Jackson's command area. The 4th North Carolina regiment have broken and fled taking with them, the 2nd North Carolina due to a melee.( Unfortunately , I was using battle-replay facility and knew that there were 4 Federal melee assaults, but they are shown too quick in A.I. Mode and they do not show the casualty numbers in battle-replay-mode.......totally forgot about that; anyhow the Union side lost 130-140 men while the rebels lost 80-90 men.)
Ramseur's fleeing regiments have not caused any major headache, as two of Wright's regiments have moved to the edge of the hill-rise, catching the union troops at a disadvantage. Brig.Gen Wright immediately sends a messenger to Anderson's command post to ask for artillery assistance ,while appraise him of the gap in the Yankee lines.
A sudden rush of federal, infantry lines out of the woods , south of the Orange plank road, has been met by close range gun fire. The lead Yankee regiment is being blown to pieces, stopping completely,in it's tracks.,
Posey's brigade is still under intense fire from enemy infantry in the woods, but is slowly causing greater casualty, then is being taken. Iverson has wheeled his brigade to the left to offer support fire to Posey..
To his right, Doles' brigade is meeting no resistance . He can hear firing from his right and left and so decides to move north a little further. Jackson is riding toward Colquitt's brigade to assuage the situation and apparent Yankee numbers in this elongated stretch of woods.
In General Lee's command area ; there seems to be a lack of enemy strength barring some medium range cannon fire and some half hearted attempts by a lone Yankee infantry brigade to contest the southern river road woods. Lee is still uncertain about the left flank of the federal line, so will have to scout a bit further, especially with Wilcox's brigade towards the Rappahannock river..