concentrating on the Upper Rappahannock. Their efforts to establish themselves on the south side of the river were successfully resisted by Fitzhugh Lee's brigade and two regiments of W. H. F. Lee's, the whole under the immediate command of General Stuart.
About the 21st, small bodies of infantry appeared at Kelly's Ford and the Rappahannock Bridge, and almost at the same time a demonstration was made opposite Port Royal, where party of infantry crossed the river about the 23rd. These movements were evidently intended to conceal the designs of the enemy, but, taken in connection with the reports of scouts, indicated that the Federal Army, now commanded by Major-General Hooker, was about to resume active operations.
At 5.30 a. m. on April 28, the enemy crossed the Rappahannock in boats near Fredericksburg, and, driving off the pickets on the river, proceeded to lay down a pontoon bridge a short distance below the mouth of Deep Run. Later in the forenoon another bridge was constructed about a mile below the first. A considerable force crossed on these bridges during the day, and was massed out of view under the high banks of the river. The bridges, as well as the troops, were effectually protected from our artillery by the depth of the river bed and the narrowness of the stream, while the batteries on the opposite heights completely commanded the wide plain between our lines and the river. As in the first battle of Fredericksburg, it was thought best to select positions with a view to resist the advance of the enemy, rather than incur the heavy loss that would attend any attempt to prevent his crossing. Our dispositions were accordingly made as on the former occasion.
No demonstration was made opposite any other part of our lines at Fredericksburg, and the strength indicated that the principal effort of the enemy would be made in some other quarter. This impression was confirmed by intelligence received from General Stuart that a large body of infantry and artillery was passing up the river. During the forenoon of the 29th, that officer reported that the enemy had crossed in force near Kelly's Ford on the preceding evening. later in the day he announced that a heavy column was moving from Kelly's toward Germanna Ford, on the Rapidan, and another toward Ely's Ford, on that river. The routes they were pursuing after crossing the Rapidan converge near Chancellorsville, whence several roads lead to the rear of our position at Fredericksburg.
On the night of the 29th, General Anderson was directed to proceed toward Chancellorsville, and dispose Wright's brigade and the troops from the Bark Mill Ford to cover these roads. Arriving at Chancellorsville about midnight, be found the commands of Generals Mahone and Posey already there, having been withdraw from the Bark Mill Ford, with the exception of a small guard.
Learning that the enemy had crossed the Rapidan, and were approaching in strong force, General Anderson retired early on the morning of the 30th to the intersection of the Mine and Plank roads, near Tabernacle Church, and began to intrench himself. The enemy's cavalry skirmished with his rear guard as he left Chancellorsville, but, being vigorously repulsed by Mahone's brigade, offered no further opposition to his march. Mahone was placed on the old turnpike, Wright and Posey on the Plank road.
In the meantime General Stuart had been directed to endeavor to impede the progress of the column marching by way of Germanna Ford. Detaching W. H. F. Lee with his two regiments (the Ninth and Thirteenth Virginia) to oppose the main body of the enemy's cavalry,