Autographed Document Signed on "Headquarters Army of the Potomac" letterhead
Date Published: 1863
Description: 1 page, 7.25 x 4.5 inches, May 6, 1863 (6:30 A.M.) -- a rare "original" Circular, drafted by William H. Lawrence (Aide-de-Camp to General Hooker & future Civil War General), dictated moments after General Hooker recrossed the Rappahannock River in retreat from his devastating defeat at the battle of Chancellorsville, in full: "General Headquarters tonight will be at the old Camp near Falmouth. Corps commanders will send a staff officer for orders at 6 P.M. to report their locations for the night as fixed on the old map of the camp of occupation. For the present - the 6th Corps will continue to cover the river as ordered, and the 1st Corps will camp temporarily in the vicinity of the old camp, of the 6th Corps - between the left of the old camp of the 2nd Corps, and the right of the 6th Corp, By Command of Maj Genl. Hooker, Danl. Butterfield, Major General - Chief of Staff, Official - Wm. H. Lawrence, Major & A.D.C. Docketed on verso: "Hd. Qts. A of P, May 6, 1863 - Circular designating the Camp of the respective Corps after the Army had recrossed the River - Gen Couch." Note: On May 5th, Hooker called a Council of War and asked his Corps commanders to vote whether to stay and fight or withdraw. Although a majority voted to fight, Hooker had chose to retreat across the Rappahannock. According to Krick, pages 191 -196, "Hooker and the Artillery crossed first, followed by the Infantry at 6 A.M. Couch was in command of the South bank, but he was left with orders not to continue the battle." Henry Alexander White, in his acclaimed book titled "Robert E. Lee and The Southern Confederacy," chapter XI, confirms the existence of the above document: "...Early dawn of May 6th revealed to Lee the deserted Federal trenches, and the rising sun found Hooker on the Northern bank of the Rappahannock issuing the order: "General headquarters tonight will be at the old camp near Falmouth." A remarkable memento from one of the bloodiest battles in the history of the United States. Faint mounting remnants on verso; still very good condition.
Comments: Major General in the Union Army best remembered for his stunning defeat at the Battle of Chancellorsville in 1863.Signed: Y
Book ID: 246764