you were, that after most of the army had crossed to this side, and when it was evident that the numbers to cross could be sufficiently accommodated by one bridge, I was to dismantle the lower one of these two bridges, and take it down in rafts to the north shore behind the island, leaving the upper bridge until the rear guard had passed, then dismantle that, and take it to the same point, bringing the stragglers over in pontoon boats, and that I would receive no orders to dismantle these bridges, but must depend upon my own judgment. In compliance with these instructions, I waited until I ascertained from artillery officers that the last battery had crossed, and I was assured by them that there were but a few regiments of infantry on the other side. As I had been informed by Captain Bowers that you would be at the Lacy house, and that I could communicate with you there, I sent Sergeant Pieltz to say to you that the artillery had all crossed to this side; that the numbers of infantry then crossing were very small, probably not more than 50 to 100 being on the bridges at one time, and not one-quarter as many as could be accommodated by one bridge; but that, as I still had no means of knowing how many troops were on the other side, I did not like to take the responsibility of taking up one of the bridges without orders, and asked for instructions.
Sergeant Pielty returned with the information that he could not find you at the Lacy house. I waited about half an hour longer, and I then sent Lieutenant Robbins to the Lacy house with a message similar to the one sent by Sergeant Pielty,and he returned with the same answer-that he could not find you. Finding the number of troops crossing still continued to be small, I then gave orders to dismantle the lower bridge. In a few minutes it was separated in five rafts, and four of them started down the river, the fifth raft being delayed by the boats near the north shore resting on the ground. About ten minutes after the rafts had started down the river, and aide of General Butterfield rode up, saying that General Hooker was very much dissatisfied with the removed of the bridge, and that he ordered it to be immediately replaced. I stated to him that I feared it would take an hour and a half or two hours to rebuild the bridge; but, as he said that General Hooker's order was imperative, I gave the order for the return of the rafts and reconstruction of the bridge, sending, at the same time, a message to General Hooker, stating the length of time I thought it would require to rebuild the bridge. The rafts were brought back much sooner than I supposed they could be, and, placing an additional boat near the north shore, the operations were so much facilitated that in twenty-five minutes from the time I received General Hooker's order the bridge was again ready for use. Just as it was completed, Lieutenant Van Brocklin returned with a message from General Hooker, to the effect that, if it would take an hour and a half to restore the bridge, I need not go on with it. I sent him immediately back to General Hooker, to notify him that the bridge was already replaced, ready for use. During the time there was but one bridge for the passage of troops. There was, for about ten or fifteen minutes, some delay on the bridge, owing to the slowness of the men in marching up the bank; but at no time was the column on the other side any larger than one bridge could accommodate, if they had passed off at the north end as rapidly as they crossed the bridge.
At about 8.45 a.m. you gave the order to Captain Ford to turn the
column across the upper bridge and dismantle the lower one, and in ten minutes the rafts were passing down the stream. About twenty minutes after this, I received from you the order to dismantle the upper