Brigadier General Dabney H. Maury, commanding First Division, Army of the West; Captain E. H. Cummins, assistant inspector-general, recorder.
Major General Earl Van Dorn was also present.
The recorder read the order convening the court.
The court was then duly sworn by the recorder and the recorder was duly sworn by the presiding officer of the court.
General Van Dorn then addressed the court as follows:
GENTLEMEN OF THE COURT: Before you proceed to the investigation of the charges preferred against my by Brigadier-General Bowen I desire to call your attention to these facts: That I have been a soldier for nearly a quarter of a century; that this is the first time I have been called upon the defend myself against allegations of any kind, though my career has been an eventful one; that I have accumulated nothing of the word's wealth, wealth, having devoted my whole time and energies to the service of my country, and that therefore my reputation is all that belongs to me, without which life to me were as valueless as the crisp and faded leaf of autumn.
As a personal favor to me, I ask that the investigation on which you are about to enter shall be through and complete. I invoke the fullest scrutiny on your part into my conduct as the only adequate means of securing my exoneration from charges which nearly touch a soldier's reputation.
I am not guilty of me of them. I ask no sympathy, but I do ask at you hands a patient, full, and searching investigation.
EARL VAN DORN,
Major Wright was then introduced by General Van Dorn as his adviser.
The [following] charges were read aloud by the recorder of the court:
Charges and specifications preferred against Major General Van Dorn, Confederate States Provisional Army.
CHARGE FIRST-Neglect of duty.
Specification 1.-In this, that Major General Earl Van Dorn, commanding the troops of the Confederate States Provisional Army in the District of Mississippi and East Louisiana including the force known as the Army of the West, did concentrate the greater portion of said force and undertake an important expedition against the enemy at Corinth, Miss., where they (the enemy) were strongly fortified and in formidable numbers, fully prepared for a stubborn resistance, without due consideration or forethought; and did utterly fail and neglect to discharge his duties as a general commanding an army in the following particulars, viz:
1st. By failing to provide himself with a proper map of the approaches and plan of the approaches and plan of the work to be attacked.
2d. By eschewing entirely the services of an engineer officer and failing to reconnoiter the position before the attack.
3d. By marching his troops to the attack with an insufficient supply of commissary stores to maintain them, depending entirely upon captures from the enemy to enable the occupation of the place if taken.
4th. By marching the troops in a hastily and disorderly manner, hurling them upon the enemy with an apparent attempt to take a command by surprise whose outposts had been engaged with his (General Van Dorn's) advance for thirty-six hours before attack. All this at or near the towns of Ripley and Corinth, Miss., on or about the 1st to the 3rd of October, A. D. 1862.
Specification 2.-In this, that Major General Earl Van Dorn, after the troops of his command had driven the enemy from their exterior line of entrenchments at Corinth, Miss., October 3, 1862, did fail and neglect to perform his duty as a general commanding an army them ample time to receive re-enforcements, of which advantage they fully availed themselves.
Specification 3. - In this, that Major General Earl Van Dorn did fail and neglect, as a general commanding, by suffering the enemy to receive large re-enforcements on the