When the weather’s been good enough, I’ve been jogging on the Chancellorsville battlefield (or, when I have my 10-month-old with me, walking him in his stroller). The past two days have drenched us with monsoonal rain, but the temperatures have been warm. When the rain finally let up this afternoon, the thermometer was just shy of kissing 70 degrees.
For my run, I decided to park down across from Catharine Furnace and run eastward toward the Lee-Jackson bivouac site. But when I descended the long hill from the Matthew Maury homestead to the bottomlands around the Furnace, I found myself entering a primordial world.
Lewis Run, which winds across the bottomlands, had flooded because of the heavy rains, turning a stark, leafless landscape into something that looked more like a bayou. A ghostly fog hovered over the water.
In just the time it took me to cross the bridge, park, and jog back to the bridge for a photo, though, much of the fog had evaporated.
Stonewall Jackson’s flanking column marched down this road on the morning of May 2. The road then was dirt, of course, and the current bridge didn’t come along until the CCC built it in the 1930s. On just the other side of the bridge, the 23rd Georgia Infantry peeled off to the right and fanned out to form a protective shield for the rest of the column, which veered to the left, past the Catharine Furnace complex, and on toward its meeting with destiny.