Marching at the quick step, Jackson and his28,000 men covered the twelve miles without being discovered and were in position to attack the Union right, when Jackson made a brilliant last minute decision and marched his men a further two miles off the road and into some dense woods. At five in the afternoon while they were sitting to their dinner the Union soldiers were shocked to hear the fearful rebel yell and looked up in terror to see a mass of gray soldiers charging them, bayonets gleaming. The attack was a complete surprise, and Jackson’s were cutting through the Yankees in a total rout. As darkness started to fall, Jackson was out in advance of his front lines. Ignoring the danger, Jackson could only see a chance at a total victory and wanted to organize a moonlight attack before the Union forces could organize and stop them.