Rare Civil War–dated ALS signed “T. J. Jackson, Lt Genl,” one page, lightly-lined, 4.5 x 7.75, March 14, 1863. Letter to Brigadier General Robert H. Chilton. In full: “Please have two of Anderson’s Brigades moved up to the U. S. ford as soon as the roads will permit. And have such disposition made of them as will be best calculated to prevent the enemy from crossing the Rappahannock. I hope to move my Hd. Qrs near you on next Monday.” A tiny tear to the left edge repaired with tape to reverse and a few creases, otherwise fine condition.
Jackson did indeed relocate his headquarters just after sending this letter, shifting from Moss Neck to Hamilton’s Crossing near Fredericksburg. The directives outlined here set the stage for the Battle of Chancellorsville, which would take place the following month. By moving two of Anderson’s brigades to guard the ford, Jackson hoped to prevent Joseph Hooker’s Union Army of the Potomoc from crossing the Rappahannock River. At the end of April, however, the federal troops managed to cross Rapidan, a tributary of the Rappahannock, into Confederate territory at the end of April. Anderson was dispatched to Chancellorsville to intervene, where he was was joined by the two brigades that Jackson had sent to guard the United States Ford in this letter. On May 1, the armies clashed in what would become one of the bloodiest battles of the war. The following day, Jackson would lead his Second Corps of 28,000 men to attack the Union right flank, catching them by surprise; it was a Pyrrhic victory, however, as Jackson was mistakenly shot by his own men and died of complications a week later. Pre-certified John Reznikoff/PSA/DNA and RR Auction COA.