lost; an hour's delay and they were in increased danger. Why fight and sacrifice the lives of his men when he could have no hope of success? Was it his duty? Is it the duty of any officer to continue a conflict when he knows that the only result of his doing so will be to add to the number of the slain? It was his duty to save the lives of his men. Honor, conscience, patriotism, reason, religion, every obligation that can bind man to man, and man to his God, required it at his hands.
Every officer who was on the hill and who is here as a witness has stated that there was a military necessity for the evacuation at the time Colonel Ford gave the order to do so. There are witnesses called by the Government - Major Hewitt, Major Steiner, Major Baird, Major Russell, Colonel Downey, Captain Brown, Captain Whittier, Captain Grafflin, Lieutenant Carnes, Adjutant Pearce, and many others, all unite with one voice in this declaration.
Colonel D'Utassy states that he was surprised when Colonel Ford left Maryland Heights, and believes they could have been held longer; but he is careful to add, "If re-enforcements had been sent to Colonel Ford;" that is, if he had been re-enforced in due time, for the arrival of fresh troops, no matter how great their numbers and how complete their equipments, after the time when they were too late to be of service, would not have been re-enforcements in any proper sense of the word. I take this only as a specimen of all the rest. Every one is careful to add that Colonel Ford must have been re-enforced in order to enable him to hold the heights, and implies that he could not have held them without such re-enforcements, so that the difference in opinion is only apparent, and not real. Colonel Ford himself always said he could hold the heights if he was properly re-enforced. But with all his efforts, after having strained every nerve to obtain such re-enforcements, he could not do so. The result was inevitable, and he knew it. All the officers knew it. The heights were abandoned. In addition to this, but one of these officers who states that the heights could have been held longer was on the hill or knew with any reasonable certainty the force that Colonel Ford had to contend with. There was, then, a military necessity for the evacuation of Maryland Heights at the time Colonel Ford ordered it to be made.
The opinion of a commanding officer, formed upon the field, with all the facts fully before him, pressing upon his attention, calling for the prompt exercise of his judgment and skill, should in all cases be respected, and will by this tribunal, and will there be treated with great deference and not lightly overruled. You cannot by all the evidence you can obtain, have so full and so clear a view of all the circumstances that surrounded Colonel Ford at the time he gave the order as the had at that time. That Mrs. Brown was there no one denies or doubts. It was her house for the time being; her husband was in the battle, and she was necessarily anxious, not to say curious, to know what was to be the result. That there was a hole for the stove-pipe to pass through no one doubts, and but a plank floor. She could then hear every word that passed between Colonel Miles and Colonel Ford. Colonel Ford was angry, paced up and down the room and swore that it was a shame. He received the order, but did so with great dissatisfaction. Just as Colonel Miles was leaving the house, Major Steiner met him at the door.
Lieutenant Binney is asked whether he contradicts the lady, and swears he does not, but swears that he agrees with her substantially in her statement.