War of the Rebellion: Serial 017 Page 1097 Chapter XXIV. CAMPAIGN IN NORTHERN VIRGINIA.

Search Civil War Official Records

receding from me; and before the order could reach my front and be obeyed, that battle, in its force and volume, was about to cease.

Such, may it please the court, as proved by the testimony which I have cited, is my case as to the order in question, and my defense against the third specification of the first charge. I leave it here, with all confidence in the candid consideration of the court.

And now I state to the court that I do not deem it necessary to make other or further answer than that which, under this specification, I have already made to the second charge, or to either of the first three specifications under it.

The fourth and last specification under the second charge with withdrawn by the judge-advocate immediately upon its presentation to the court, and before the trial began. This specification, relating to my conduct on the 30th, appears to have been communicated to me by the Government under a total misapprehension of the facts, and only in consequence of its thus having been communicated inadvertently to me does it appear upon the record at all. It having been immediately and formally withdrawn, I, of course, could not plead to it, nor offer proof in relation to it. This fact I regret. In view of the character of the evidence introduced as to the feelings and intent toward General Pope, which have been so strangely and unaccountably imputed to me, my whole conduct in the battle of Saturday, the 30th of August, is, as I contend, legitimate matter for the consideration of this court. But in this view I have been overruled by the court,and all evidence offered by me to show my conduct in that battle has been excluded. I desired to produce that evidence, but under the ruling of the court I must content myself with the assumption, manifestly made by the Government in its withdrawal of the specification, that in that battle I did my whole duty. More than my whole duty, according to my sense of it, it would have been then impossible for me to do - for any man to do.

To return, then, briefly, to the second charge, and the three specifications under it, which have not been withdrawn:

The second charge, in its terms, is "violation of the Fifty-second Article of War," but its meaning, as I understand it, is misbehavior before the enemy; because I do not perceive in any of the specifications of the charge anything imputed to me which can, by any possibility, be regarded as constituting any of the other offense enumerated and made punishable by that article. I observe, indeed, that the second of the three specification referred to charges that I did shamefully fall back and retreat from the advance of the enemy without any attempt to give them battle, and without knowing the forces from which I shamefully retreated. I observe also that the third of the three specifications referred to charges that I did shamefully retreat away and fall back, with my army, to the Manassas Junction, and both these specifications aver that these said shameful things were all done by me on the 29th of August last.

In view of the proof which I have cited in this defense, even to say nothing of the other eight hundred or more pages of proof which appear upon the record, and which I have not cited, may I not, without more words, respectfully ask this court to adjudge that both of these averments are simply ridiculous? Where is there one particle of proof, in the whole record, that I fell back or retreated, with my whole army, to Manassas Junction, either shamefully or not shamefully? Where, on the whole record, is there any proof or pretense that I did, on the 29th of August, with my army, retreat or fall back at all? Why, at half-past 3 of the morning of the 30th, I received an order, which General Pope