Having established his troops in position, Hooker further strengthened his right wing at Chancellorsville to the detriment of his left below Fredericksburg; and at 1.55 A.M., Saturday, ordered all the bridges at Franklin’s Crossing, and below, to be taken up, and Reynolds’s corps to march at once, with pack-train, to report at headquarters.
This corps reached him Saturday night, and was deployed upon the extreme right of the new position then being taken up by the army.
The line as now established lay as follows:—
Meade held the left, extending from a small bluff near Scott’s Dam on the Rappahannock, and covering the roads on the river, along a crest between Mine and Mineral Spring Runs towards and within a short mile of Chancellorsville.
This crest was, however, commanded from several points on the east, and, according to the Confederate authorities, appeared to have been carelessly chosen. Meade’s front, except at the extreme river-flank, was covered by impenetrable woods. The Mine road intersected his left flank, and the River road was parallel to and a mile in his front.
Couch joined Meade’s right, and extended southerly to Chancellorsville, with Hancock thrown out on his front, and facing east, astride the River road, and up to and across the old turnpike; his line being formed south of this road and of the Chancellor clearing. The division of French, of Couch’s corps, was held in reserve along the United-States Ford road.
From here to Dowdall’s Tavern the line made a southerly sweep outwards, like a bent bow, of which the plank road was the string.
As far as Hazel Grove, at the centre of the bow, Slocum’s Twelfth Corps held the line, Geary’s division joining on to Couch, and Williams on the right. From Slocum’s right to the extreme right of the army, the Eleventh Corps had at first been posted; but Hooker determined on Saturday morning that the line was too thin here, and thrust Birney’s division of the Third Corps in between Slocum and Howard. The rest of the Third Corps was in reserve, massed in columns of battalions, in Bullock’s clearing, north of the Chancellor house, with its batteries at the fork of the roads leading to the United-States and Ely’s Fords.
Towards sunset of Friday, Birney had advanced a strong line of skirmishers, and seized a commanding position in his front. Birney’s line then lay along the crest facing Scott’s Run from Dowdall’s to Slocum’s right.
Pleasonton’s cavalry brigade was massed at headquarters, ready for duty at any point.
Howard held the line, from Dowdall’s Tavern (Melzi Chancellor’s) to beyond Talley’s farm on the old pike, with his right flank substantially in the air, and with two roads, the main thoroughfares from east to west, striking in on his right, parallel to his position.
As will be noticed from the map, the right, being along the pike, was slightly refused from the rest of the line, considering the latter as properly lying along the road to headquarters. From Dowdall’s west, the rise along the pike was considerable, and at Talley’s the crest was high. The whole corps lay on the watershed of the small tributaries of the Rappahannock and Mattapony Rivers.