War of the Rebellion: Serial 016 Page 0510 OPERATIONS IN N. VA.,W. VA.,AND MD. Chapter XXIV.

Search Civil War Official Records

CHARGE 2nd.-Violation of the Fifty-second Article of War.

Specification 1st.-In this, that he said Major General Fitz John Porter during the battle of Manassas, on Friday, the 29th August, 1862, and while within sight of the field and in full hearing of its artillery, did receive from Major General John Pope, his superior and commanding officer, a lawful order to attack the enemy, in the following figures and letters, to wit:-

HEADQUARTERS IN THE FIELD, August 29, 1862-4.30 p. m.

Major-General PORTER:

Your line of march brings you in on the enemy's right flank. I desire you to push forward into action at once on the enemy's flank, and, if possible, on his rear, keeping your right in communication with General Reynolds. The enemy is massed in the woods in front of us, but can be shelled out as soon as you engage their flank. Keep heavy reserves, and use your batteries, keeping well closed to you right all the time. In case you are obliged to fall back, do so to your right and rear, so as to keep you in close communication with the right wing.

JOHN POPE,

Major-General, Commanding-

Which said order the said Major-General Porter did then and there shamefully disobey, and did retreat from advancing forces of the enemy without any attempt to engage them, or to aid the troops who were already fighting greatly superior numbers, and were relying on the flank attack he was thus ordered to make to secure a decisive victory, and to capture the enemy's army, a result which must have followed from said flank attack had it been made by the said General Porter in compliance with the said order, which he so shamefully disobeyed. This at or near Manassas, in the State of Virginia, on or about the 29th of August, 1862.

Specification 2nd.-In this, that the said Major General Fitz John Porter, being with his army corps on Friday, the 29th August, 1862, between Manassas Station and the field of a battle then pending between the forces of the United States and those of the rebels, and within sound of the guns and in the presence of the enemy, and knowing that a severe action of great consequence was being fought, and that the aid of his corps was greatly needed, did fail all day to bring it onto the field, and did shamefully fall back and retreat from the advance of the enemy without any attempt to give them battle, and without knowing the forces from which he shamefully retreated. This near Manassas Station, in the State of Virginia, on the 29th of August, 1862.

Specification 3rd.-In that the said Major General Fitz John Porter, being with his army corps near the field of battle of Manassas, on the 29th August, 1862, while a severe action was being fought by the troops of Major-General Pope's command, and being in the belief that the troops of the said General Pope were sustaining defeat and retiring from the field, did shamefully fail to go to the aid of the said troops and general, and did shamefully retreat away and fall back with his army to the Manassas Junction, and leave to the disasters of a presumed defeat the said army; and did fail, by any attempt to attack the enemy, to aid in averting the misfortunes of a disaster that would have endangered the safety of the capital of the country. This at or near Manassas Station, in the State of Virginia, on the 29th day of August, 1862.