This Week in the Civil War - 585
Attempting to ascertain Robert E. Lee’s intentions, on Friday, June 5, 1863 Union troops from Joseph Hooker’s Army of the Potomac made a reconnaissance at Franklin’s Crossing, north of Fredericksburg, Virginia and found Confederate forces blocking them.
Hooker at Falmouth and Lincoln and the War Department at Washington exchanged telegrams about the apparent shift of Lee’s army, and Washington advised Hooker to attack the moving Confederates rather than cross the Rappahannock and wholesale engage those still at Fredericksburg.
Skirmishing between A.P. Hill’s Confederates at Franklin’s Crossing and Union troops from Falmouth would continue for several days, but even when the Union War Department believed Lee was taking the offensive, precise time was lost before any real opposition to Lee’s progress could be mounted by Union forces.