War of the Rebellion: Serial 016 Page 0343 Chapter XXIV. CAMPAIGN IN NORTHERN VIRGINIA.

Search Civil War Official Records

But while General Milroy gave me nothing whatever on which I could be justified in acting, and while in double for the moment in view of the circumstances as to the course to be taken, I received a clear message from that intelligent as well as gallant officer Brigadier-General Meade, through one of his aides-de-camp, to the effect that if he could have some re-enforcements sent to him in the woods on the Henry House Hill could not only hold them, but drive out the enemy, who were not then there in great force. Relieved from all doubly by this message, I exclaimed, "Meade shall have re-enforcements," and immediately gave General Porter orders to send them forward.

I send herewith an extract* from General Milroy's report, to which I regret I have to refer to say that his statement that I refused to send re-enforcements to General Sigel is without foundation in anything that I said or thought. I had just come from a large part of General Sigel's corps. I had received no intimation from General Sigel that he needed re-enforcements. He was in reserve, and mostly in a different part of the field than that in which I had been operating. On Friday I had re-enforced him with Reynolds' whole division, and on Saturday the only part of his corps with which I had had anything to do up to the time of my seeing General Schurz was General Scheneck's division, which I had re-enforced, without being asked, with every man I had at the time under my control.

I send herewith a copy of my correspondence with Colonel Buchanan, commanding the brigade of regulars sent forward at the time in question,+ and with other officers present on the occasion, from which you see the condition of mind General Milroy was in, and how little his impressions at the time are to be relied on, either as to what he did or what I said.

To General Sigel personally I bore no ill-will, but had he been my enemy, and had I desired to see him harmed - General Sigel here represented several thousand men, many of them from my own State, and aside from the great question of the loss of the battle, the fate of the campaign and the ruin of the country, which might all have been involved - I could not be so stupidly bad, so utterly false to the simplest form of duty, as to refuse aid to my brother soldiers when I had the power to give it only because they were under an officer I did not like. As it seems to have been the impression not only that I was unfriendly to General Sigel, but that we had bitter altercations and even personal conflicts on the field itself, I take the occasion to state that during the whole course of the operations from Thursday morning at Buckland Mills to the next Monday evening at Fairfax Court-House not only I did not exchange a word with General Sigel, but I did not see him, and I do not think he saw me. The re-enforcements taken forward by Colonel Buchanan and the troops brought by your orders from the north of the turnpike held the position on the Henry House Hill until they were withdrawn long after dark.

It was about 7 o'clock when I received your order to take such portions of my corps as I might find intact and proceed with them to take a position covering the bridges over Bull Run and Cub Run. Proceeding to the place where I had left General Schurz I found he had withdrawn, but General Gibbon's brigade, of King's division, was just coming up the hill, and seeing it would not be well to leave the position as unsupported as it then was, I told General Gibbon to take post there


*See No. 9, Appendix C.

+See Nos. 10 and 11, Appendix C.