War of the Rebellion: Serial 017 Page 0840 OPERATIONS IN N. VA., W. VA., AND MD. Chapter XXIV.

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if General Porter had obeyed your orders, why was it that you doubted, on the 2nd of September, whether you would or would not take any action against him?

To which the witness made answer as follows:

Answer. I would state that on the night of the 29th of August, when I found that General Porter did not make his appearance upon the field, and when I had received the dispatch which he wrote to Generals McDowell and King, stating that he was about to fall back to Manassas Junction, I determined to arrest him, and had, I think, commenced to dictate the order for that purpose. I was persuaded not to do so by several officers who were about me at the time, and changed the order into the one that appears in one of the specifications of these charges. I have endeavored, at the suggestion of the counsel for the accused, to remember, as far as possible, the conversations which are stated to have taken place between myself and General porter. I will recur to the conversation which occurred at Fairfax Court-House, as it is a necessary part of this answer. I now remember a portion of that conversation which I could not recall yesterday, and which I will repeat here. I said to General Porter that I had received information from friends of mine in Washington that the (General Porter) had written letters or sent dispatches to General Burnside, dated before he had joined me, which criticized my conduct, my military capacity, and the campaign which I was conducting, very severely, and which exhibited an exceedingly unkind spirit. I asked General Porter whether he did not consider it unfair and unjust to me for him to have written such a letter before he had seen me; before he knew the orders under which I was acting; before he knew the condition of the army and the disposition of it, or of the army of the enemy; before, in fact, he knew anything about the plan of campaign, as far as I was concerned; whether he did not consider it unfair and unjust to me to have written such a letter, as he was on the point of joining me. He seemed surprised that his letter had become known, and stated to me that it was a private letter of his to Genera Burnside, which he had never intended to go further than General Burnside; that General Kearny had expressed opinion opposite to his own on the subject of the campaign, and that, therefore, both sides of the question would now be heard. He expressed his regret to me that he had written the letter, under the circumstances, without knowing the facts; said that he was sorry he had done so. After this remark, I told General Porter I was satisfied that in writing this letter he had not intended to hold back from any proper co-operations with me; that it was merely and expression of his private opinion, in a private letter to another officer. Although I considered that it was unfair and unjust to have written such a letter, yet I was satisfied when he said he thought it was not right. And I said to General Porter that I thought I would not push the matter against him further, or did not propose to take any further action in the matter of his conduct previously in the campaign. I said so at Fairfax Court-House, because I did not at that time believe that General Porter deliberately and of purpose had withheld his command from the assistance of the army engaged in that battle. I am a frank, open man, and slow to entertain suspicions of so grave a character against an officer. Although I had been warned by several officers a day or two previously that he would fail me, I did not believe so at Fairfax Court-House. General Porter could not have believed-I am sure I had no idea that he believed-when I stated that I did not design to take any further action against him, that I meant to say that I did not design, in my official reports of the operations of the army, to set forth all the facts as they had transpired on the field. This is all I have yet done. i have not preferred charges against him. I have merely set forth the fact in my official reports, which embrace the operations of everybody else connected with that army, s well as to General Porter. It was not until the campaign was closed, and I came to Washington City, on the 4th or 5th of September, that I was informed by the President of the United States that he had see several dispatches or letters from General Porter to General Burnside, dated a day or two previous to these battles, which had occasioned him very grave apprehensions that General Porter would fail to do his duty. This communication of the President to me opened my eyes to many matters which I had before been loth to believe, and which I cannot bring myself now to believe. I will now proceed to answer the preface to this question which has been put to me. The question is prefaced by a representation that I have here given certain testimony and made certain statements which I have not made, and which will not be found upon the records of this court. Why the question is put in that shape, when the record is before the court and before the counsel for the accused, I am not able to say. Certainly no such statements as those have been made by me. The reason why I did not put these charges against General Porter, and why I told him, at Fairfax Court-House, that I thought I should take no further action, was, that I did not then believe that General Porter's conduct was deliberate and of purpose, but I was inclined to think that his action or want of action thee was the result of mistake or blundering rather than of intention. But I