had written at fifty minutes past 8 on the evening of the 29th, imperatively commanding me to report to him in person on the battle-field; and then, and not till then, did I have the far advanced and strong position which I then held in front of a great force of the enemy, and hurry back to join him on the field. What, I ask, is the sense and meaning of the averment that I did not know the forces before me, and from which it is charged that I shamefully retreated, when all the proof is that I, who, with my corps, held them it check, and the brave and skillful and men whom I had set to watch them and make reconnaissance of them, and hold them where they were, were, in fact, ourselves the only men belonging to the Army of Virginia who did, on that day, have any knowledge of those forces or of their position, or of the great power with which it was held, and with which, but for the presence of my corps, it menaced there all the fortunes of that hardbought day of the 29th?
Is it my accuser on the record, who, in view of the testimony he has given on this point, and in view of that I have presented, is here now to tell you that I did not know the forces of the enemy with which on that day I had to deal? But I will not tax the patience of the court with further argument or protest against these details of accusation. I smite them, one and all - the charge and its three specifications - with the solid mass of evidence, which, as I conceive, has already beaten down the charge of disobedience to the order directing me to attack the enemy on his flank. That testimony shows my behavior before the enemy.
Standing upon that testimony, I defy all accusation, and I challenge all proof, that it was misbehavior. I affirm that it was faithful, zealous effort, made according to my best judgment, then and there, to aid to the utmost my country, her army, and her cause; and I further affirm that all the proof, and all reasonable judgment of it, show that by those efforts, mainly, was prevented a great and fearful addition to whatsoever of disaster or failure did then occur.
I proceed, now, to notice the only two specifications against me which yet remain to be answered, being the fourth and fifth specifications of the first charge, which respectively allege that I disobeyed the order of 8.50 p.m. of the 29th of August, directing me, immediately upon the receipt of the order, to march my command to the field of the battle of the 29th, and to report there in person to General Pope. The former of these two specifications alleges that, in disobedience to this order, I permitted one of the brigades of my command to march to Centreville, out of the way of the field of battle and there remain during the entire day of Saturday, the 30th of August last. The brigade here referred to is that of General Griffin.
The latter of the two specifications alleges a similar disobedience to the same order, in that I permitted one other brigade attached to my command - being the brigade commanded by General A. S. Piatt - to march to Centreville, and that I thereby greatly delayed the arrival of the said brigade on the field of battle, on Saturday, the 30th of August last. I shall briefly consider together these two specifications.
And, first, I remark that I do not understand it to be denied that, upon the receipt of the order above referred to,at or about 3.30 a.m. on the 30th of August, I did at once proceed to take with me a portion of my command to the battle-field. General Pope, himself, states explicitly in his testimony that he makes no complaint as to the time at which, with that portion of my command, I arrived (four hours before fighting) upon the field, as directed. It only remains, then, for me to