After the brilliant flank attack of Jackson on May 2, 1863 which wrecked the Union 11th Corps, Lee still faced a daunting situation as morning dawned on May 3. Hooker had been reinforced by Reynolds Corps overnight which made good his losses and Lee’s Army of approximately 43,000 faced 76,000 troops under Hooker. His forces were also divided with Jackson’s Corps, now temporarily commanded by General Jeb Stuart after Jackson’s wounding, located behind the right of the Union army. If this were not a bad enough situation, Lee still had Sedgwick south of Fredericksburg with 40,000 men confronting the 11,000 of Early. If Sedgwick attacked, Lee could be facing an attack from his rear. Unbeknownst to Lee, in the wake of the flank attack of Jackson, Hooker had sent an urgent message to Sedgwick ordering him to attack immediately.
The first thing Lee had to do was to reunite his army confronting Hooker. Lee in his official report details how this was done: Continue Reading