After some time the doors were reopened, and the judge-advocate announced that the court sustained the objection.
The accused inquired of the court if, under that decision, he would be allowed to use, in the examination of this witness, the paper purporting to be the answer proposed to be sent to General McClellan.
The president of the court said the paper could be used in the defense of the accused, but, under the decision of the court, not in the examination of this witness.
The judge-advocate said that, at the request of the witness, he would withdraw his objection, as the witness expressed a desire to be permitted to answer the question.
To which no objection was made.
The question was then read to the witness, as follows:
Question. State, if you can remember, if the accused proposed to answer the dispatch of Major-General McClellan by telegraph, and whether he was, or was not, permitted to use the telegraph; and is this the paper which the accused at that time exhibited as the answer he proposed to send?
The paper marked "Accused, Exhibit Numbers 2," was then read, as follows:
FAIRFAX COURT-HOUSE, September 2, 1862-10 a. m.
General GEO. B. MCCLELLAN, Washington:
You may rest assured that all your friends, as well as every lover of his country, will ever give, as they given, to General Pope their cordial co-operation and constant support in the execution of all orders and plans. Our killed, wounded, and enfeebled troops attest our devoted duty.
F. J. PORTER,
Answer. I am not sure that I read this dispatch. I think I did not. but I remember that General Porter said something to me or asked permission from me to send a telegraphic dispatch, I think, in reply to this dispatch of General McClellan. I stated to him that I had, many days previously, received positive orders from General Halleck to allow no dispatches of any description to pass over the telegraphic line, except official dispatches signed by myself. I had never permitted anybody to send such dispatches, unless countersigned by me on official business; nor had I my self taken the liberty of sending any dispatches, except official dispatches on army business, as I did not consider myself justified in doing so under the order from the General-in-Chief.
Question. Try to recollect whether you objected to that part of the paper just read which speaks of "co-operation," and, if you did, what the objection was.
Answer. I have stated that I do jot think I read the paper. I certainly do not remember its contents. The only objection, and an objection which would have held against any dispatch, was the order of my superior officer.
Question. State, if you can remember, whether you did not at that time inform the accused that, in consequence of a dispatch from him that had been intercepted by the War Office, you were of opinion that he was not disposed to co-operate with you.
Answer. I think I have already answered that question in recounting my conversation at Fairfax Court-House; that I called General Porter's attention to that dispatch, which was sent by him before he joined me.
Question. The question is, whether it was in reference to his actual co-operating or his purpose to co-operate with you.
Answer. "Co-operation" is a word that I do not exactly understand in connection with military matters. Do you mean to say that I suspected that General Porter would not do his duty? That, perhaps, is the better word. I do not understand that he co-operated with me, being under mu command.