War of the Rebellion: Serial 017 Page 1041 Chapter XXIV. CAMPAIGN IN NORTHERN VIRGINIA.

Search Civil War Official Records

The following communication from the Secretary of War was then read:

WAR DEPARTMENT, Washington City, D. C., January 5, 1863.

Major-General HUNTER,

President, &c., &c.:

GENERAL: The state of the service imperatively demands that the proceedings in the court over which you are now presiding, having been pending more than four weeks, should be brought to a close without any unnecessary delay. You are, therefore, directed to sit without regard to hours, and close you proceedings as speedily as may be consistent with justice and the public service.

Yours, truly,


Secretary of War.

Major General IRVIN McDOWELL was then recalled by the Government, and examined as follows:


Question. Will you state to the court at what time and place, if you can recall it, you saw General King for the last time on the 29th of August last?

Answer. I do not recollect of seeing General King on that day. I have been trying to recall to mind when I saw him, if I did see him, on that day. I have asked of my staff officers, and tried to refresh my memory on that point, but I cannot recall to mind having met General King on the 29th of August last.

Question. After the interview which you had on the 29th of August with General Porter, of which you have spoken heretofore in your testimony, you stated that you turned down toward or near Bethlehem church. Will you state whether you have any recollection of a messenger-a staff officer-form General Porter, bearing a message, while you were there, and if you made any reply?

Answer. I do not remember anything of the kind.

Question. Have you, or not, any recollection of having, after parting with General Porter on the 29th of August, sent back to him a message like this: "Take my compliments to General Porter, and say to him that I think he batter remain where he is," or words to that effect?

Answer. I have no recollection of sending any such message.

Question. Have you, or not, any recollection of having said to General Porter, in you interview, when you first met him on the 29th of August, that that was no place to fight a battle; that he was too far in advance?

Answer. I cannot recollect precisely what occurred between General Porter and myself, or what conversation and what words passed between us at that time. The subject of our conversation, as near as I can recall it to mind, was the order which we each of us had received from General Pope; and particularly that part of it which referred to our not going so far forward that we should not be able to get behind Bull Run that night or before morning. I cannot say what language I used, or how it may have been understood, whilst talking on that point. As to that particular spot or ground, so far as topography was concerned, not being a place for a battle, I have no recollection of having said anything to the effect that it was not a good place to fight on. It was about as good a place, so far as topography was concerned, as any other in that part of the country. I think our conversation was chiefly upon the subject of not putting ourselves in a position to be unable to fulfill the requirements of the order about retiring behind Bull Run, and about not going so far toward Gainesville, or going to Gainesville, that this could not be done. Without being able to say what was said either by him or me, I think, so far as my best recollection goes, that the object and purpose of our conversation at that time was in relation to that point.