From Antietam to Chancellorsville: September 1862 to May 1863

“fighting Joe” Hooker

What was that march like?

It was, in many ways, the most audacious march any commander made during the war. Had the weather gone sour, it might have been ruined, but the sunshine remained bright all day, allowing Jackson and 28,000 Confederates to make their twenty-mile march. “Old Jack” was observed everywhere along the line, making his men close up, march more quietly, and sing no songs. He wanted no dramatics along the march: he wanted the men to save everything they had for the great contest that afternoon.

The men had to have some rest, so Jackson allowed them ten minutes out of every hour. The rest of the time he pushed them as no other commander—North or South—could do, and by 5:45 they were so close to the federal right flank that they could smell the campfires and even hear bits and pieces of conversation. To this point, everything had gone extremely well, and Jackson—after giving his men a thirty-minute rest—made the signal for the charge.


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