War of the Rebellion: Serial 017 Page 1087 Chapter XXIV. CAMPAIGN IN NORTHERN VIRGINIA.

Search Civil War Official Records

of detail and a confident precision of statement entirely fitted to carry with it absolute conviction of its accuracy.

Colonel Marshall's testimony is as follows:

Colonel E. G. MARSHALL was then called by the accused, and sworn and examined as follows:


Question. Will you state what is your rank and position in the service.

Answer. Colonel of the Thirteenth New York Volunteers and captain in the regular service.

Question. Where were you on the afternoon of the 29th of August last?

Answer. I was on the road leading to Gainesville - the road from Manassas Junction.

Question. On what duty?

Answer. On duty with General Morell's division, in General Porter's corps, and commanding my regiment.

Question. Specify the character of the duty you were performing that afternoon.

Answer. About 1 o'clock I was detailed by General Porter to go with my regiment across an open country and a ravine to some timber that was facing our line of battle, and deploy skirmishers to find out the position of the enemy, and anything else that I could find out concerning them.

Question. State the position and force of the enemy in the immediate vicinity of General Porter's command, as far as you know it.

Answer. Immediately after going there, my skirmishers were fired on by a body of dragoons, and shortly afterward there was a section of artillery which opened fire upon General Porter's command. Soon after that, perhaps about 2 o'clock, the head of a large column came to my front. They deployed their skirmishers and met mine, and about 3 o'clock drove my skirmishers into the edge of the timber. We were all on the left of the Manassas Railroad, going toward Gainesville. Their force continued to come down all day, in fact, until 1 o'clock at night. It was a very large force, and they were drawn up in line of battle as they came down. I reported at different intervals to General Morell, my immediate commander, the position of the enemy. But at one time I deemed it so important that I did not dare to trust orderlies or others with messages, and I went myself up to him to confer concerning the enemy. This was about dusk. General Morell told me that he had just received orders from General Porter to attack the enemy - to commence the attack with four regiments. He seemed to be very much troubled concerning the order, and asked my advice, my opinion. I told him by all means not to attack; that it was certain destruction for us to do so; that I for one did not wish to go into that timber and attack the enemy. Their position was a very strong one, and they were certainly in force at that time twice as large as our own force - all of General Porter's corps. He had expressed to me the tenor of General Porter's order. I also deemed that we had executed the same with reference to the other part of the army - General Pope's army- by keeping this large body in force, and better than we would by attacking them, because if we had attacked them I felt that it was certain destruction, as we would have had to move our line of battle across this ravine into this timber, and then, perhaps, our line of retreat would have been entirely cut off from General Pope's army.

I may say that this army that came down in our front was a separate and distinct army of the enemy from that which we saw General Pope's army fighting with.

About the same time, before I went in to General Morell, I could hear and judge of the result of the fighting between the force of the enemy and General Pope's army. I could see General Pope's left and the enemy's right during the greater part of the day, about 2 miles off, perhaps, more, diagonally to our front and to the right. The enemy see up their cheering, and appeared to be charging and driving us, so that not a man of my command but what was certain that General Pope's army was being driven from the field.

In the different battles I have been, I have learned there is no mistaking the enemy's yell when they are successful. it is different from that of our own men. Our own men give three successive cheers, and in concert, but theirs is a cheering without any reference to regularity of form - a continual yelling.

Afterward, at dark, I was sent for by General Porter, and questioned very stringently with reference to the enemy; and my remarks to him were the same as I am now making, and as I made to General Morell. I also stated in conversation that I felt that our right was very weak, and that the pickets should be increased, for there was danger of our being cut off entirely from General Pope's army; and I was given one regiment under my command to go to the right of me, and four companies of another regiment to go on the left of me, as pickets; and General Griffin was also ordered to place a strong force on my right, and to connect with me.

Question. The position and force of the enemy being as it was between 5 o'clock