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supper and rest, without a thought of danger, they were aroused by a flight of the wild game of the forest-deer, wild turkeys, and hares—and after them, with wild yells, came Jackson's twenty-five thousand men, bursting from the thickets and rushing upon them like a tornado, a murderous fire pouring from their long battle-line.
The surprise was complete. The astonished Federals sprang to their feet in a panic and wildly fled towards the river, the alarm spreading until the woods were filled with fleeing and pursuing men and the whole corps was rushing backward in utter dismay.
Night was well on before the flight was checked. The greatest success had followed Jackson's movement, though it was attended by one serious disaster, Jackson himself falling badly wounded by inadvertent shots from his own men. He died a few days later, and the Confederate army lost its “Stonewall ” of skill and daring.
The next day was one of hard fighting, but in the midst of it, at a critical movement, Hooker was prostrated by the effect of a cannon ball, which struck a pillar of the Chancellor House and threw it against him. He was only stunned, but it was an hour before he recovered, and during that hour the army remained without a head while Lee was gaining important advantages. The Union army was driven steadily back, and at nightfall rested on the Rappahannock. A heavy rain saved it from attack on the 4th, but on the next day Hooker led his defeated men across the river. Burnside's defeat at Fredericksburg had been matched by Hooker's at Chancellorsville, and Lee was master of the situation.
The two months which followed this disastrous affair were filled with important events, including Lee's rapid march northward and ending with his defeat at Gettysburg. Hooker, as soon as he learned of Lee's movement, followed him in all haste to the north, keeping between him and Washington and guarding the capital of the nation against any sudden attack. The Potomac was soon passed and both armies were in Maryland, while Lee's advance troops were on the soil of Pennsylvania.
Under these circumstances Hooker did not see any reason for keeping a garrison of eleven thousand men at Harper's Ferry, and telegraphed to Halleck, the commander-in-chief, for permission to withdraw them and add them to his army.
Halleck refused and Hooker immediately resigned, saying that he could not deal with the enemy unless he could control all the available troops. His resignation was accepted and he was ordered to Baltimore, there to await commands from the adjutant-general. General Meade was appointed in his place. After waiting three days at Baltimore without hearing a word from Washington, Hooker grew impatient and went to that city, where he was at once arrested by Halleck's order, on a charge of visiting the capital without leave. Meanwhile Meade was given full permission to withdraw the troops from Harper's Ferry, so that the whole affair looked like a personal affront from Halleck to Hooker. It was a perilous one under the critical circumstances.
This ended General Hooker's connection with the army of the Potomac. In September he was sent with two corps to eastern Tennessee to take part in the stirring events proceeding in that quarter. The army there, badly defeated at Chickamauga, was in a perilous position at Chattanooga, its line of supplies being
kept open only with great difficulty. Hooker had a hand in overcoming this critical state of affairs, winning a victory at Wauhatchie and opening a safe line of food supplies.
But Hooker's most famous exploit came in November, after Grant had taken command at Chattanooga. Overlooking that stronghold on the south was the high peak known as Lookout Mountain, rising fifteen hundred feet above the river level. This Hooker was ordered to attack, and in this way to distract the attention of the Confederates while Sherman was crossing the Tennessee with his troops. Fighting Joe” was ready and willing. His men were under arms at four o'clock in the morning of the 24th, and rapidly made their way through the darkness and the heavy mist which lay upon the country after day dawn to the mountain's foot. Most of the Confederates in the rifle pits were taken in the advance through the mist, and on up the rugged slopes went the men, climbing up steep ledges and through tangled ravines, cutting the felled trees with which the mountain side had been covered, making their way under the very muzzles of the Confederate cannon, and driving the enemy before them as they rushed resistlessly on.
When the works at the mountain's base had been taken, Hooker, fearing disorder and entanglement in the mist-covered mountain, ordered his men to halt. But he found them warmed to their work and not to be stayed, and he now gave them the order to charge. Up the steep slopes went the eager, cheering fellows, full of enthusiastic valor, driving all before them, until the plateau was reached and the Confederates were sent flying in dismay and confusion down the mountain side, towards the opposite valley.
It was now two o'clock in the afternoon. A dense cloud covered the mountain, rendering further movements perilous. From the valley and the town below many eyes were strained that day to catch a glimpse of what was taking place under the veil of vapor, from which came the roar of battle. At intervals, as the wind disturbed the mist, a glimpse of the struggling battalions might be caught far up the mountain side, but the result was not fully known until a clear sunrise the next morning showed the National flag waving from the top of Pulpit Rock, the extreme point of the mountain overlooking Chattanooga. Such was the celebrated “battle above the clouds," by which the name of “Fighting Joe Hooker” has since been best remembered.
Hooker also took an active part in the subsequent capture of Missionary Ridge and the pursuit of Bragg after the battle, and in Sherman's famous march to Atlanta in the following year he commanded a corps of the army and did his share well and bravely.
With this campaign Hooker's career as a fighter ended. He afterwards had command of the northern department, and in March, 1865, was brevetted majorgeneral. The full rank of major-general was given him in 1868 when, attacked by paralysis, he retired from the army. He died October 31, 1879. Despite his failure at Chancellorsville he has since been regarded as one of the bravest fighters in the American army.
JOSEPH WHEELER, THE “FIGHTING
JOE” OF THE CONFEDERACY
It was largely in the cavalry service that the Confederate soldiers made a reputation for daring adventure and striking achievements, this giving them an opportunity for bold dashes to the rear of the Federal army and the display of deeds of desperate courage and romantic exploits, not open to a like extent to the Federal cavalrymen. There were reckless guerillas, like Morgan, the bold invader of Indiana and Ohio, and Mosby, some of whose exploits read like those of Marion of Revolutionary fame. Men of greater note were Stuart and Forrest, sketches of whose lives we have given, and Wheeler, the daring dragoon, with whom we have now to deal.
Joseph Wheeler was born at Augusta, Georgia, September 10, 1836. But, though of Southern birth, he was of New England Puritan stock, his father being a Connecticut man who had made Georgia his home. The boy was well educated and was finally sent to West Point, where he graduated as a soldier in 1859, serving as second lieutenant of dragoons in Kansas and New Mexico until April, 1861, when he resigned to enter the Confederate service.
Wheeler began his career in this service with a low grade for a West Pointer, that of first lieutenant of artillery, but in September he was made an infantry colonel, and in the battle of Shiloh, where he showed much ability, was given command of a brigade. He had two horses shot under him and distinguished him