War of the Rebellion: Serial 017 Page 1101 Chapter XXIV. CAMPAIGN IN NORTHERN VIRGINIA.

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me to proceed with my corps to the battle-field. Why, indeed, should I not have thus wholly obeyed it, if I obeyed it at all? Can any human being suggest a phrase purporting to be a reason, or to state a motive why I should myself, in pursuance of the order, on the morning have taken the mass of my corps into that grim fight, and then have permitted two brigades, in violation of the order, to go in another direction? Do I use too strong language when I respectfully state to the court that such an accusation against any sane general officer is little less than an absurdity?

And now, having disposed of the several charges and specifications presented against me, I proceed, briefly, to comment upon the origin and circumstances of this accusation, and the testimony of some of the witnesses who have appeared to support it. In doing this I shall, I trust, practice all due reserve. I shall abstain from saying at this time much that I have to say, which is yet fit to be said, and which may be said hereafter.

By reference to the record, pages 28 to 32, inclusive, it appears that this general court-martial was convened by a general order, which dissolved a military commission (an illegal tribunal) previously convened, as the order convening it under date of --- recites, to investigate and report upon certain charges preferred against me by Major-General Pope.

By reference to page 82 [840] of the record, it appears that General Pope, under date of 5th ultimo, testified before the court that up to take day he had preferred no charges whatever against me. Evidently, therefore, at the very outset of these proceedings, and even before these proceedings commenced,some one in connection with them had perpetrated a mistake so extraordinary and unusual that it should rather be called a blunder. I ask the court here to solider whether this mistake or blunder does not cast a strong and strange suspicion over the origin and inception of this whole accession. In the testimony of General Pope and of Colonel Ruggles, it appears that, at Fairfax Court-House, on the morning of the 2nd of September, in the course of a conversation which is proved by Colonel Ruggles, General Pope's chief of staff, no have related to the series of occurrences embraced in the charges and specifications now before this court, that he, General Pope, did declare, in substance, to me that he was satisfied or entirely satisfied with my explanations, except as to the single point of Griffin's brigade; that he intended to take no further proceedings against me, though he might against General Griffin. By the testimony of the same two witnesses, it appears that on that day, and immediately after that conversation, General Pope received an order which brought him at once back to Washington; and, by the testimony of Colonel Ruggles, at page - of the record, it appears that General Pope, on the 5th or 6th of the same September, two or three days after his conversation with me at Fairfax Court-House, held a conversation with Colonel Ruggles, of which, in his testimony, at page 618 [977] of the record, Colonel Ruggles, being cross-examined by the judge-advocate as to the circumstances by which he was led to remind General Pope of his declaration to me at Fairfax Court-House on the 2nd of September, as above referred to, makes the following statement:

General Poe told me that he did not wish to appear as a witness against General Porter, but that he should summon me as the principal witness. I told him that I was not acquainted with all the circumstances of the case; that, though chief of staff, I had been employed as an aide-de-camp much of the time from the 25th of August up to the time of the battle of Chantilly, on the 1st of September, and that