touching the construction of the orders mentioned in the specifications, and touching the consequences of a compliance with or disobedience of those orders, military officers who have been examined as witnesses, have been asked by the judge-advocate and by the court, without objection on the part of the accused other than he supposed he would have the same privilege, what their opinions were.
The accused also states, that, as far as any objection exists in the mind of any member of this court, or in the minds of the court, as to the relevancy of the facts which the question seeks to elicit, he proposes to show that the character of the country which must have been traversed in order to carry out the order stated to have been given by General McDowell (the witness under examination) to the accused on the 29th of August to turn the enemy's right flank and attack him in the rear, or the order of 4.30 p.m. of that day, was such that he could not have carried his artillery into action so as to comply with either of those orders.
He proposes also to prove that at the time he received the order of 4.30 p.m. from the commander-in-chief, the enemy's right, by the junction of the force of Longstreet with the original right, was so extended that he could not have complied with that order in time to have made the attack contemplated by that order.
He also proposes to prove in connection with the same question, that, as he was then actually situated at the moment he received that order, the enemy were in his immediate front, and that, if he had attempted to have executed that order, he might have been cut off.
For these reasons the accused respectfully submits to the court his right to propound to the witness under examination the question objected to.
A member of the court said, that as he understood the rulings of this court, all opinions of witnesses on the construction of orders, or on any matters that are actually before the court, would be inadmissible, for in that case the court are to judge. But all matter of opinion based on facts which the witness himself knew, and from which he drew his opinion as a collected judgment which same basis of opinion is not possessed by the court,such opinions would be admissible.
The court was thereupon cleared.
After some time court was reopened; whereupon the judge advocate announced that the court determine that the witness shall not answer the question.
Examination continued by the ACCUSED:
Question. You have stated what you suppose to have been the length of march made by that part of your command which was under you immediate command in order to get to the battle of the 29th as being some 5 or 6 miles, and you have stated generally the roads which your troops on that march traversed. Was their march made upon roads exclusively or was any part of it, and if so, what part of it made through the country on either side of any of those roads?
Answer. It was not exclusively on roads, but the larger part of it was. It was on a road from Bethlehem church to near the Warrenton turnpike. It was not on a road, for those brigades which were sent from the Sudley Springs road across the country to operate on Reynolds' left, nor on roads coming back from that position to the Sudley Springs road. It was on roads the rest of the distance I have described.
Question. Was the country over which a portion of your troops marched, other than on roads, an open one or not, and what distance had they to march?