Confederate General Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson liked to say that his goal as a commander was to “mystify, mislead and surprise the enemy”. On May 2, 1863, he once again fulfilled that goal admirably.
Jackson had turned 39 in January. He had fought fourteen full-scale battles in 8 months, and had not seen his wife in a year. He had a five month old daughter he had never seen at all. He took a brief respite from the war when in the last nine days of April, he was able to have Anna and the baby come to visit him at the Yerby house overlooking Fredericksburg, Virginia. There the couple enjoyed a few days of quiet time, walking in the woods and along the heights, even though across the Rappahannock River they could plainly see the Union gun emplacements and the yellow observation balloons rising above the enemy camp.
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