War of the Rebellion: Serial 017 Page 0968 OPERATIONS IN N. VA., W. VA., AND MD. Chapter XXIV.

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U. S. Volunteers; Brigadier General J. P. Slough, U. S. Volunteers; and Colonel J. Holt, Judge-Advocate-General.

The accused, with his course, was also present.

The minutes of the last session were read and approved.

The examination of Major General GEORGE W. MORELL was then resumed, as follows:


Question. Now, to pass to the 29th of August, please state to the court what orders were issued by General Porter on that day, so far as you may know them, commencing at reveille; and what dispositions of your own command, and of others, so far as you know, were made by him during that day.

Answer. General Porter received an order from General Porter between daylight and sunrise on the morning of the 29th of August, directing him to march to Centreville. General Porter immediately communicated the order to me, and I went to my division and issued the orders there. We were to march at 7 o'clock that morning. General Sykes' division started at that hour; mine followed immediately after. When the head of my division had crossed the railroad at Manassas, I was halted, and in a short time received orders to go to Gainesville. As we countermarched to go there, my division was thrown in front, General Sykes having already passed on toward Centreville. We had gone up the road toward Gainesville, perhaps about 3 miles, when I met a mounted man coming toward us. I stopped him, and asked him the road to Gainesville, and also the news from the front. He said that he had just come from Gainesville, and that the enemy's skirmishers were then there to the number of about 400, and their main body was not far behind them. I then moved on up the road, and in a short time our own skirmishers reported that they had discovered the enemy's skirmishers in their front. The column was then halted by General Porter, who was with me. After a little consultation, he directed the batteries to be posted on the crest of a ridge that we had just passed, and the men to be placed in position. I immediately went about that work. After a while I saw General McDowell and General Porter riding together. They passed off to our right into the woods, toward the railroad; and after a time General Porter returned, I think, alone, and gave me orders to move my command to the right, over the railroad. I started them, and got one brigade, and, I think, one battery, over the railroad, passing through a clearing (a corn-field), and had got to the edge of the woods on the other side of it, when I received orders to return to my former position. I led the men back, and as the head of the column was in front of Hazlitt's battery, which had been put in position, we received a shot from the enemy's artillery directly in front of us. I got the infantry back of the batteries, under cover of the bushes and the crest of the ridge, and posted Waterman's battery on the opposite side of the Gainesville road, and we remained in that position the most of the day. The Sixty-second Pennsylvania Regiment was in front as skirmishers, and we sent forward another regiment (the Thirteenth New York), under Colonel Marshall. Soon after Colonel Marshall went to the front, he sent me he sent in another report that he was mistaken; that the enemy was forming opposite our left, in the woods; and during the day he sent me several other reports of that same character. The ground in front of us was an open space for 1,000 or 1,200 yards; road the woods made a considerable of a point down toward our position. A little while before sunset-just about sunset-I received an order, in pencil, from General retiring. I knew that could not be the case from the reports I had received, and also from the sounds of the firing. I immediately sent back word to General Porter that the order must have been given under a misapprehension; but at the same time I began to make dispositions to make the attack in case it was to be made. Colonel Locke soon after come to me with an order form General Porter to make the attack. I told him (and I think in my message to General Porter I spoke of the lateness of the day) that we could not do it before dark. Before I got the men in position to make the attack, the order was countermanded, and I was directed to remain where I was during the night. General Porter himself came up in a very few minutes afterward, and remained with me for some time. It was then just in the gray of the evening, sent out another regiment on the railroad, which was some distance on our right, and put one of my brigades near Waterman's battery, and Berdan's regiment of sharpshooters on their left, with Griffin's brigade supporting Hazlitt's battery, and Butterfield's brigade in rear of Griffin; and in that way we passed the night.