About 10 a.m. on May 2, 1863, Confederate General Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson's flanking column approached this then-cleared ridge on the Furnace Road. Union infantrymen perched in trees at Hazel Grove, three-quarters of a mile to the northwest, spotted the Confederates. Federal artillery opened fire, compelling Jackson's troops to hurry past this exposed spot. The general ordered his artillery and wagon trains to take a safer road, further south.
The harassing Union fire did little to disrupt Jackson's column. Had you been here that day, you would have seen a much narrower road packed with troops four abreast moving steadily at a slow tramp. For six hours a continuous stream of soldiers moved by. The passage here alerted the Federals to Jackson's movement but not to his destination. They would soon respond in more substantial form - at Catharine Furnace, a half-mile to the west.
The men had been in winter quarters and had accumulated much...to carry, but the day was a warm one.... Many of these poor fellows...jerked off their knapsacks or bundles, hastily selected a few precious things and abandoning their cherished possessions ran on to resume their places.
Lieutenant Frederick Colston, Confederate staff officer.
By this point, Jackson's men had covered only two of the twelve miles they would march that day. When the head of the column reached here, the rear of the column had not yet started to march.