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Stonewall Jackson Directs D.H. Hill’s March to Fredericksburg
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Jackson gives directions to his division commander, D.H. Hill, on leaving the Shenandoah Valley to join Robert E. Lee in countering the Union offensive in Virginia. On December 13, Jackson and Hill contributed to the Battle of Fredericksburg, a decisive Confederate victory. “…Your route will be from New Market via Columbia bridge, & Fishers Gap. You will leave the Valley pike at New Market ...”

THOMAS “STONEWALL” JACKSON. Autograph Endorsement Signed, to D.H. Hill. [Virginia], [ca. November 20, 1862], 1 p., on verso of D.H. Hill to Stonewall Jackson. [Virginia], November 20, 1862. 1 p., on blue paper. 250 x 200mm.

Inventory #21782       Price: $26,000

Complete Transcript

[in Hill’s hand:]
                                                Nov 20th 1862
Genl
                     Capt Pendleton’s instructions do not state whether I am to go through Harrisonburg. Shall I cross over directly from New Market to Luray or shall I go by Harrisonburg & Stanardsville. I infer the latter.
                     We have about 120 sick at Strasburg & Midletown, besides a good number unfit to march. May I appropriate all my returning ambulances? I learn that we have but nine (9) in the Division.
                                             Respectfully
                                             D H Hill
                                                    Maj Gen

[endorsement, in Jackson’s hand:] My medical director has given directions to yours respecting the sick. As he is not with me at this time, I can not answer yr question respecting the ambulances.
Your route will be from New Market via Columbia bridge, & Fishers Gap. You will leave the Valley pike at New Market,
[struck: but][inserted: & keep to the right of Luray.][struck: should you require more flour than you]
There will be no occasion I hope for your using [inserted: the] flour at Harrisonburg.
                 T.J. Jackson
                             Lt Genl

Historical Background

General D.H. Hill presents two possibilities for marching from the Shenandoah Valley into the Virginia Piedmont based on the location of gaps in the Blue Ridge. The southern route (today, Route 33) began in Harrisonburg, in the valley, and went through Swift Run Gap to Stanardsville, north of Charlottesville. The northern route, which was more direct, involved marching from New Market through Luray and Fisher’s Gap, to Culpeper Court House. Jackson’s choice of the northern route indicates the urgency of the movement of Jackson’s entire corps to reinforce Lee at Fredericksburg. Hill’s was the first of Jackson’s divisions to begin marching east. On November 18, Lee wrote Jackson, “I think it would be advisable to put some of your divisions in motion across the mountains.” On November 23, with Union General Ambrose Burnside now in full force north of the Rappahannock, Lee determined that he did not see “what military effect can be produced by the continuance of your corps in the valley … I wish you would move east of the Blue Ridge.”

Stonewall Jackson’s corps had remained in the Shenandoah Valley after the Battle of Antietam (September 17, 1862), and did not arrive at Fredericksburg until November 29. Fortunately for Lee, Burnside’s pontoon boats, needed to cross the Rappahannock River, were held up by red tape. Though Lee was still outnumbered, he had time to allow James Longstreet to entrench on Marye’s Heights, west of town, and to channel Jackson’s brigades to the more vulnerable positions downstream on the Rappahannock. The Battle of Fredericksburg, fought on December 13, was one of Lee’s greatest victories.

The wounded referred to in Hill’s letter and Jackson’s reply were casualties suffered at Antietam. Hill’s division, once under Longstreet but now transferred to Jackson’s corps, suffered over 2300 casualties, nearly half his command, in Maryland. Hill’s division was rebuilt to roughly 9000 men, and Hill was soon granted use of the ambulances to move sick men. According to his biographer, Hill also employed provost guards to pick up stragglers, “a surgeon to examine those who claimed to be sick, and ambulances to carry those who really were unable to continue on foot.” Hill marched two hundred miles in nine days, arriving just before the rest of Jackson’s Corps at Fredericksburg on November 29. It was a miserable march, and diaries and letters abound with testaments to inclement weather, sleet and cold nights, and shortages of shoes. Hill wrote that Jackson “has done all in his power to add to the comfort of my men. But their suffering is greater by far than that of our Revolutionary sires.”

Jackson’s “medical director” was Dr. Hunter McGuire, who would tend to Jackson for ten days after his wound suffered at Chancellorsville, and was with him when he died on May 10, 1863.

Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson (1824-1863) was trained at West Point, served in the Mexican War, and became an eccentric professor at the Virginia Military Institute. With Virginia’s secession, Jackson was given command of a regiment, performing brilliantly at First Manassas (or First Bull Run) in 1861, earning the singular nickname, “Stonewall,” for bolstering his regiment in the face of a driving federal assault. Later in 1861, he was given independent command in the Shenandoah Valley, and at the request of Lee, then Davis’s military advisor, initiated a spectacular campaign in the spring of 1862, winning several small victories, that forced Lincoln to withhold tens of thousands of troops from General McClellan’s Peninsula campaign in order to protect Washington, D.C. Jackson’s “Valley Campaign” panicked the North and uplifted the South. In late June, he merged his army with Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia to fight McClellan, but, perhaps due to exhaustion, did not perform well in the Seven Days’ Battles. He fought with distinction at Second Manassas and Antietam, and was promoted lieutenant general in October 1862, with command of Lee’s II Corps. He was instrumental to Confederate victories at Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville – his flank attack at Chancellorsville remains one of the most studied tactical maneuvers of the war, nearly destroying two entire federal corps. However, late in the evening of May 2, as he was reconnoitering with staff on the battlefield, he was shot by Confederate pickets, and died eight days later. After Robert E. Lee, the most celebrated and revered Confederate soldier.

Daniel Harvey Hill (1821-1889) a native South Carolinian and West Point graduate (Class of 1842), had been a mathematics professor at Davidson College and superintendent of the North Carolina Military Institute before the war. In 1848, he married Isabella Morrison, the daughter of a Presbyterian minister (and first president of Davidson College). In 1857, Isabella’s sister, Mary Anna, married Thomas J. (later “Stonewall”) Jackson. Hill was commissioned brigadier general on July 10, 1861, shortly after participating in the Battle of Big Bethel, the first land battle in the state of Virginia, as a regimental colonel. Hill fought at Seven Days, Second Bull Run, and Antietam. Hill is credited with holding the Confederate center, the “Bloody Lane,” at Antietam against repeated Federal assaults. However, Hill was blamed by some contemporaries for the loss of a copy of Lee’s “Special Order 191,” which, when discovered by Union pickets on September 13, revealed Lee’s plans to Union commander George McClellan. The lost order had been hand-coped by Jackson’s adjutant, Robert Chilton, and sent to Hill, who insisted he never saw that copy, having received the same written order directly from Lee. In the summer of 1863, Hill was reassigned to the western theater, performing admirably at Chickamauga, but his subsequent criticism of his commander, General Braxton Bragg, led to disputes with President Davis, who refused to submit Hill’s commission as lieutenant general to the Confederate Senate. He later served as president of the University of Arkansas.

References

Bridges, Hal. Lee’s Maverick General: Daniel Harvey Hill (New York, 1961), pp. 146-147.
War of the Rebellion: Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Series 1, Vol. 21,  Ch. 33 (1888), pp. 1018-1027.

Condition

Minor spotting, expert restoration along the folds.


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