Sunday, April 28, 2013

April 28, 1863 (Wednesday): The Winds of Chancellorsville

Lowe's Balloon

April 28, 1863.

Major-General HOOKER,

Commanding Army of the Potomac:
    Lowe reports up to 9 a. m. that, in consequence of the wind, he is unable to ascend.
First opportunity will be improved. Cautioned Sharpe, signal officers, and Lowe to be vigilant and watchful; to get all information possible.
    Deserters just in and examined, report up to night before last, April 26, "Rodes (D. H. Hill's) division, A. P. Hill's, and Trimble's divisions not moved; no signs of a move."
    We are in some uncertainty here as to the whereabouts of the remaining batteries of the Eleventh and Twelfth Corps. Looking over your reply to General Howard's dispatch, I find that the Reserve Artillery is ordered to go with the rest of the artillery. Your original dispatch to Howard and Slocum specified the trains only to go to Banks' Ford. As you had a personal interview with Slocum, I presume he received directions at that interview. If not, it will be in sufficient time if those batteries are up with them (in any error) to have them get back to Banks' and United States Fords during to-morrow. General Hunt asks whether the works for those batteries at Banks' and United States Ford will be sunk to-night, in case the road is completed by General Couch, or wait until to-morrow night. The orders directed the work upon these batteries not to be done until after the road between the two points is completed. I so informed him.
    Pleasonton reports that he will leave for Grove Church at 8 a. m. to-day.
It is raining now here-10.30 a. m.-I sincerely trust only a shower. I should feel almost heartbroken if we were baffled again by a storm.
    If you desire to reach Sedgewick or myself hastily from Morrisville and Kelly's Ford, an orderly, with a telegraphic dispatch to Warrenton Junction, might reach us in advance of an orderly coming direct through. The signal telegraph is open to Banks' Ford. Duplicates of important dispatches might be sent there.
I keep General Sedgwick advised of everything that occurs. Clinton, the wagon-master, came shortly after you left, and has been ordered to you at Morrisville or Kelly's Ford. Have ordered Blake, at Aquia Creek, and Garton, at Belle Plain, with their dismounted men, to relieve Colonel Rogers' brigade, of Patrick's command, from working and guard duty, so that they can take care of the railroad line and man the works at once.
    It still rains-2 p. m. Fogliardi comes back at 5 p. m. Couch telegraphs me he has ordered all his tools to Banks' Ford. Sedgwick's command is just coming into position. So misty that nothing can be seen across the river.
    I inclose copies of reports received,* directing the orderly to find you, deliver this, with your mail, and bring back any orders or intelligence you might have to communicate.
    Still raining here, but not severely-slow and steady. Telegraph progressing from Banks' Ford to the United States Ford. 
     Very respectfully, &c.,

    Major-General, Chief of Staff.

*Not identified. 

Official Records, Series I., Vol. 25, Part 2, Page 276.

Butterfield's job was to coordinate the advance of all the disparate elements of Hooker's army.  His notes about the weather were interesting.  In Krick's "Civil War Weather In Virginia" the high temperature in Washington D.C. was recorded as 62 degrees.  It was also noted during the same week the peaches and plums had just bloomed, held back by a late spring.

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