May 5, 1863, a Tuesday, dawned clear and warm.
That morning, Union troops the Rebels had driven from Marye’s Heights retreated across the Rappahannock at Fredericksburg and Barksdale’s Mississippi Brigade reoccupied the town.
“The enemy shelled us as we came in,” 17th Mississippi Private Robert A. Moore recorded in his diary.
“A severe storm occurred in the evening,” Spartan Band diarist William H. Hill wrote. “It blew down a large number of tents and trees. The rain fell in torrents for nearly two hours.”
Union Gen. Joseph Hooker also retired with the remainder of his forces across the river above the town, leaving Gen. Lee with his greatest victory: Chancellorsville.
Wednesday was cool with misting rain and occasional showers. The waters of the Rappahannock were rising from all the rain.
By Friday, the weather had turned “cold, misting rain,” Hill recorded.
“Everything has assumed about the same appearance that was presented about eleven days since,” Moore wrote in his diary. “The enemy [across the river] are playing on the brass bands and trying to present a lively aspect. Weather cloudy and cool & we have no wood at all.”
On Saturday, Hill added, “A flag of truce came over this morning with a request from General Hooker to be allowed to send medicines and provisions to their wounded that are in our hands and to exchange them as soon as necessary arrangements can be made.”