James Ford Rhodes (1848–1927). History of the Civil War, 1861–1865. 1917.

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  army and said that he was “highly delighted” with all that he had seen. 1 The people of the North, too, gained some comprehension of the general’s work and its results and showed the resiliency of their temper by taking fresh hope and talking of success to come.  51   Soon after the President’s visit, Hooker considered his army in condition to take the offensive. He had been somewhat hurried in his preparations because the term of service of 23,000 nine months’ and two years’ men was soon to expire. Encamped on the north bank of the Rappahannock River, he had 130,000 troops to oppose Lee’s 60,000, who were at Fredericksburg: the Army of Northern Virginia had been weakened by the detachment of Longstreet and part of his corps. Hooker ordered his cavalry to advance towards Richmond for the purpose of severing the Confederate communications, but owing to heavy rains and high water in the river these troops were delayed and proved of no assistance to him in his operations. On April 27, unable to wait longer for them to perform their part, he set in motion three corps who crossed the Rappahannock about twenty-seven miles above Fredericksburg, then forded the Rapidan and marched to Chancellorsville on the south side of these rivers. “The Army was in superb condition and animated by the highest spirits,” wrote Carl Schurz. “Officers and men seemed to feel instinctively that they were engaged in an offensive movement promising great results. There was no end to the singing and merry laughter relieving the fatigue of the march.” 2 In order to mask the main movement, General John Sedgwick with the Sixth Corps forced the passage of the Rappahannock a short distance below Fredericksburg. On April 30, Couch with the Second Corps crossed the river
Note 1. General Meade, I, 364. [back]
Note 2. Schurz, Reminiscences, II, 408. [back]