D. AUGUSTUS DICKERT
The Battle of Chancellorsville proved to be one of Lee's most stunning victories of the war as well as a testament to his audacity and tactical brilliance. Heavily outnumbered by Hooker in the depths of the Wilderness, Lee divided his forces and sent Jackson's corps against the Federal right on a flank attack to roll up the enemy line while the rest of the Confederate force occupied the attention of Hooker's front. The next day, Lee vigorously engaged the Army of the Potomac convincing its commander to withdraw across the Rappahannock River even though most of his troops had not yet been engaged. A captain in the 3rd South Carolina Regiment of Brigadier General Joseph B. Kershaw's Brigade, D. Augustus Dickert was in the ranks at the time of this bloody confrontation and wrote an account of the battle in his History of Kershaw's Brigade.
On the morning of April 29th the soldiers were aroused from their slumbers by the beating of the long roll. What an ominous sound is the long roll to the soldier wrapped in his blanket and enjoying the sweets of sleep. It is like a fire bell at night. It denotes battle. It tells the soldier the enemy is moving: it means haste and active preparation. A battle is imminent. The soldiers thus roused, as if from their long sleep since Fredericksburg, feel in a touchous mood. The frightful senses of Fredericksburg and Marye's Hill rise up before them as a spectre. Soldiers rush out of their tents, asking questions and making suppositions. Others are busily engaged folding blankets, tearing down tents, and making preparations to move: companies formed into regiments and regiments into brigades. The distant boom of cannon beyond the Rappahannock tells us that the enemy is to cross the river again and try conclusions with the soldiers of Lee. All expected a bloody engagements for the Federal Army had been greatly recruited under excellent discipline, and headed