Question. Did General Fitz John Porte command a corps in that army; and, if so, at what time, and for what period?
Answer. He serve in that army from some time in the month of September, 1861, first as commander of a division, and then as a commander of a corps, from about the end of April or the beginning of May, 1862.
Question. When did the Army of the Potomac reach Aquia Creek?
Answer. It reached there, by detachments, during the latter part of August.
Question. Have you any knowledge of any efforts made by General Porter for the purpose of removing his own command, in order to get to Aquia Creek and join General Pope?
Answer. I have.
Question. State them, if you please.
Answer. Immediately after the commencement of the movement for the evacuation of Harrison's Bar, General Porter was instructed to move his corps to the vicinity of Williamsburg, holding a position, in front of it, to be able to support either wing of the army, if attacked. While there, he received information, through contrabands and intercepted letters, showing that the rebel troops in the vicinity of Richmond were moving upon General Pope. Immediately, without waiting for further orders form me, he moved his command with the utmost rapidity to Newport New, to embark it. And, while at Newport News, he used every effort to facilitate the embarkation of his command for Aquia Creek.
Question. Did he know that the object of that movement upon his part was to get as quickly as possible to the assistance of General Pope?
Question. At what time did he get off from Newport News?
Answer. I think he embarked in person on the 20th of August; I could not tell exactly without referring back to papers and dates.
Question. Will you look at that paper [handing witness a paper], and say whether you recognize it?
Question. Does that paper refresh your recollection?
Answer. It confirms my recollection that it was on the 20th of August, in the evening, that he sailed, to the best of my knowledge and belief.
The paper was then read, as follows:
ASSISTANT QUARTERMASTER'S OFFICE, Fort Monroe, Va., August 20, 1862-11 a. m.
Major General F. J. PORTER,
Commanding Fifth Corps, Newport News:
Please push off your troops without on e moment's delay. The necessity is very pressing-a matter of life and death. What progress is made, and when will you be through?l See me before you sail.
GEO. B. McCLELLAN,
Question. Was that order executed by him to your satisfaction?
Question. You have stated, if I understood you, that the first movement which General Porter made for the purpose of getting to Newport News was without orders from you. Was it not contrary to orders at that time?
Answer. It was departing from the letter of the instructions I had given. I should say, in explanation of that, that General Porter sent me a telegram, one, or perhaps two, stating that he would go by a certain hour if I did not forbid it. By some delay of the telegraph line, I did not receive those dispatches until after he had started; but I fully approved his course in doing as he did.