Washington Anxious Over Battle of Chancellorsville

May 4, 1863

President Lincoln is preoccupied with the military situation in northern Virginia. He writes General  Joseph Hooker: “We have news here that the enemy has reoccupied heights above Fredericksburg. Is that so?”

Presidential aide John G. Nicolay writes home: “We have been in a terrible suspense here for two days as to the result of the battle which Gen. Hooker is fighting on the Rappahannock, nor have we yet any definite information on the subject.” Journalist Noah Brooks writes that “we know that our armies are now moving, and that there seemst ob e no reason why Hooker should not force the rebels on the Rappahannock to meet him on something like equal terms as to position.  It is not believed here that they can meet him in equal force.

Secretary of the Navy Gideon Welles writes in his diary of meeting President Lincoln at the War Department as he awaited news from the battlefield: “Great uneasiness and uncertainty prevail in regard to army movements. I think the War Department is really poorly advised of operations. I could learn nothing from them yesterday or to-day. Such information as I have is picked up from correspondents and newsgatherers, and from naval officers who arrive from below.”  He adds:

I this P.M. met the President at the War Department. He said he had a feverish anxiety to get facts; was constantly up and down, for nothing reliable came from the front. There is an impression, which is very general, that our army has been successful, but that there has been great slaughter and that still fiercer and more terrible fights are impending.

Published in: on May 4, 2013 at 9:00 am  Leave a Comment  

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