May 12.THERE was part of the late battle at Chancellorsville,(second Fredericksburgh,) a little over a week ago, Saturday, Saturday night and Sunday, under Gen. Joe Hooker, I would like to give just a glimpse of(a moments look in a terrible storm at seaof which a few suggestions are enough, and full details impossible.) The fighting had been very hot during the day, and after an intermission the latter part, was resumed at night, and kept up with furious energy till 3 oclock in the morning. That afternoon (Saturday) an attack sudden and strong by Stonewall Jackson had gaind a great advantage to the southern army, and broken our lines, entering us like a wedge, and leaving things in that position at dark. But Hooker at 11 at night made a desperate push, drove the secesh forces back, restored his original lines, and resumed his plans. This night scrimmage was very exciting, and afforded countless strange and fearful pictures. The fighting had been general both at Chancellorsville and northeast at Fredericksburgh. (We hear of some poor fighting, episodes, skedaddling on our part. I think not of it. I think of the fierce bravery, the general rule.) One corps, the 6th, Sedgewicks, fights four dashing and bloody battles in thirty-six hours, retreating in great jeopardy, losing largely but maintaining itself, fighting with the sternest desperation under all circumstances, getting over the Rappahannock only by the skin of its teeth, yet getting over. It lost many, many brave men, yet it took vengeance, ample vengeance.
But it was the tug of Saturday evening, and through the night and Sunday morning, I wanted to make a special note of. It was largely in the woods, and quite a general engagement. The night was very pleasant, at times the moon shining out full and clear, all Nature so calm in itself, the early summer grass so rich, and foliage of the treesyet there the battle raging, and many good fellows lying helpless, with new accessions to them, and every minute amid the rattle of muskets and crash of cannon, (for there was an artillery contest too,) the red life-blood oozing out from heads or trunks or limbs upon that green and dew-cool grass. Patches of the woods take fire, and several of the wounded, unable to move, are consumedquite large spaces are swept over, burning the dead alsosome of the men have their hair and beards singedsome, burns on their faces and handsothers holes burnt in their clothing. The flashes of fire from the cannon, the quick flaring flames and smoke, and the immense roarthe musketry so general, the light nearly bright enough for each side to see the otherthe crashing, tramping of menthe yellingclose quarterswe hear the secesh yellsour men cheer loudly back, especially if Hooker is in sighthand to hand conflicts, each side stands up to it, brave, determind as demons, they often charge upon usa thousand deeds are done worth to write newer greater poems onand still the woods on firestill many are not only scorchdtoo many, unable to move, are burnd to death.
Then the camps of the woundedO heavens, what scene is this?is this indeed humanitythese butchers shambles? There are several of them. There they lie, in the largest, in an open space in the woods, from 200 to 300 poor fellowsthe groans and screamsthe odor of blood, mixed with the fresh scent of the night, the grass, the treesthat slaughter-house! O well is it their mothers, their sisters cannot see themcannot conceive, and never conceivd, these things. One man is shot by a shell, both in the arm and legboth are amputatedthere lie the rejected members. Some have their legs blown offsome bullets through the breastsome indescribably horrid wounds in the face or head, all mutilated, sickening, torn, gouged outsome in the abdomensome mere boysmany rebels, badly hurtthey take their regular turns with the rest, just the same as anythe surgeons use them just the same. Such is the camp of the woundedsuch a fragment, a reflection afar off of the bloody scenewhile over all the clear, large moon comes out at times softly, quietly shining. Amid the woods, that scene of flitting soulsamid the crack and crash and yelling soundsthe impalpable perfume of the woodsand yet the pungent, stifling smokethe radiance of the moon, looking from heaven at intervals so placidthe sky so heavenlythe clear-obscure up there, those buoyant upper oceansa few large placid stars beyond, coming silently and languidly out, and then disappearingthe melancholy, draperied night above, around. And there, upon the roads, the fields, and in those woods, that contest, never one more desperate in any age or landboth parties now in forcemassesno fancy battle, no semi-play, but fierce and savage demons fighting therecourage and scorn of death the rule, exceptions almost none.
What history, I say, can ever givefor who can knowthe mad, determind tussle of the armies, in all their separate large and little squadsas thiseach steepd from crown to toe in desperate, mortal purports? Who know the conflict, hand-to-handthe many conflicts in the dark, those shadowy-tangled, flashing-moonbeamd woodsthe writhing groups and squadsthe cries, the din, the cracking guns and pistolsthe distant cannonthe cheers and calls and threats and awful music of the oathsthe indescribable mixthe officers orders, persuasions, encouragementsthe devils fully rousd in human heartsthe strong shout, Charge, men, chargethe flash of the naked sword, and rolling flame and smoke? And still the broken, clear and clouded heavenand still again the moonlight pouring silvery soft its radiant patches over all. Who paint the scene, the sudden partial panic of the afternoon, at dusk? Who paint the irrepressible advance of the second division of the Third corps, under Hooker himself, suddenly orderd upthose rapid-filing phantoms through the woods? Who show what moves there in the shadows, fluid and firmto save, (and it did save,) the armys name, perhaps the nation? as there the veterans hold the field. (Brave Berry falls not yetbut death has markd himsoon he falls.)