War of the Rebellion: Serial 015 Page 0199 Chapter XXIV. GENERAL REPORTS.

Search Civil War Official Records

Answer. With the limited knowledge I had at the time of what was known of the position and force of the enemy and of the plans of the commanding generals I am reluctant to advance an opinion which must be deemed a criticism. At the same time I feel bound to say that at the time I thought it was injudicious to pass toward Manassas Junction when he had evidence that the enemy was in the vicinity of Groveton. It is proper I should add that the enemy not taking advantage of our exposing our flank to them led me eventually to conclude he was not in very large force, and that the firing on my column was designed only to check and delay us, which it effected by one or two hours.

Question by the COURT. Did you know that morning that Ricketts division had been sent to Thoroughfare Gap to prevent the approach of Longstreet and his junction with Jackson and was actually there?

Answer. I did not. I knew nothing personally of Ricketts' division, except that the was in our rear.

Question by the COURT. Would the fact that Ricketts was at Thoroughfare Gap to prevent the approach of Longstreet render the march of General McDowell with the rest of his forces to Manassas more or less injudicious, in your opinion, after the demonstration made against him in the morning from the direction of Groveton?

General McDowell offered the following as an objection to the question:

I beg to submit that the opinion of the witness on the construction of orders or on any matter actually before the court should not be asked, for of this the court is to be the judge; that he should only be asked an opinion based on facts which he himself knew, and from which he drew his opinion as a collective judgment, and which basis of opinion is not possessed by the court. The witness says he know nothing of the movements of Ricketts' division.

The court was cleared, and decided that the question be not put.

The court was opened and its decision announced.

Question by the COURT. Had you any knowledge of the position of King's division, except that it was following Reynolds'?

Answer. I had not.

Question by the COURT. In your opinion, from your knowledge of the country, what would have been the effect on Jackson's forces if General McDowell's forces, including Sigel's corps, had marched against him along the Warrenton pike in the direction of Groveton instead of turning toward Manassas?

General McDowell stated that this question assumed the point at issue, and that there was no evidence to show that Jackson's army was there; that it assumes that the small force, consisting of a section of artillery and its small support, was Jackson's army.

Answer. If Jackson was in the position premised; that is to say, on the heights about Groveton, I presume the effect of advancing would have been to brig on an engagement, the result of which it is not possible to pronounce with certainty.

Question by the COURT. What forces were engaged toward which you inclined your march in the afternoon toward Sudley Springs?

Answer. On our side a portion of King's division. I have no personal knowledge what forces of the enemy were engaged, whether Jackson's or Longstreet's. This was toward sunset, about 6 or 7 o'clock.

Question by the COURT. Have you knowledge, acquired during the ensuing battles, where Jackson's forces were during the 28th; and, if so, where were they?

Answer. I have no knowledge of the position of any of the enemy's forces, so far as being commanded by Jackson. The enemy was on the 28th on the heights to the right or north of Groveton. On the 29th we passed over the ground that General Gibbon had fought on during the 28th.

The court adjourned to meet to-morrow, January 13, 1863, at 11 o'clock a. m.