War of the Rebellion: Serial 039 Page 0207 Chapter XXXVII. THE CHANCELLORSVILLE CAMPAIGN.

Search Civil War Official Records

pointment, and reported to him this failure, stating to him that the mistake lay between himself, Captain Halsted, and Captain Reese. The fear of delay to the crossing and in the laying of my bridges from the want of co-operation may have caused an earnestness of manner in me at this time, but no harsh words were used to General Brooks, as my staff can testify, and he informed me that this should be rectified, and that the squads should join their respective boats immediately. I then proceeded toward the river, leaving my quartermaster at a covered position about half-way down the field, to have the pontoons close up and the crossing squads join them, and, taking the corporal of the pickets, went carefully down the bank and along the shore for the distance I judged it expedient to have the boats placed, and, returning, I found Captain Reese at the edge of the bank, and then went down again with him the whole distance to show him the position, directing him to commence the placing of his boats at once for the crossing. On my return again to the top of the bank, I found the evidence of alarm in the signal lights of the enemy, and at once dispatched my topographical officer to hurry up the equipage of the two upper bridges and my quartermaster to order down that of the two lower. This was not far from 1 o'clock. I then went down the bank a third time, and personally directed the placing of the first four or five boats, but found them without their crossing squads. The arrangement was, that General Pratt's carrying force was to rest during the crossing of General Brooks' men, and then help lay the bridges. During the packing of these boats, I found the rebels had several small boats rowing down opposite to us. I went to search for some officer of the crossing force, and on the ascent of the bank encountered an officer who told me he was General Russell, and he appeared somewhat vexed, accusing me of having ordered his left in front, with his rear rank to the enemy. I at once told him of his mistake; that I had nothing to do with this at all; that it was the plan and order of General Brooks, as announced to General Sedgwick and myself, without appearing to convince him, however, for he repeated that it was Captain Reese who did it, if not myself. On finding my efforts of no avail with him to have the crossing squads assigned to the boats when my oarsmen were waiting, exposed to the danger of a fire that might open at any moment upon them, I told him of the responsibility I had for the laying of these bridges and of the urgent necessity for the previous crossing of his men, and asked him distinctly if he declined to obey my orders, to which he gave no satisfactory reply other than an apparent negative, which he made more explicit on a second meeting with him a few minutes after, when I repeated that question. I then, stating my position and rank, placed him in arrest, as far as I had power to do so. This arrest I directed him to report to General Brooks, for his confirmation. Finding myself there, powerless, with my boats and boatmen at the river and no men to cross in them, I could only join my staff; then sent Lieutenant [Stephen M.] Weld to report this fact to General Sedgwick, and I remained quietly on the river, where, in a short time, General Brooks came to me, to whom I related the above circumstances, and distinctly put the question to him if he acknowledged my right to command, to which he replied in the negative, on which I asked him if he would assume command. I then stated to him, "The responsibility of the crossing now rests with you, but I will aid you in any way that you wish, and all my men are at your orders," a part of my staff being witnesses to this. Upon this he left me, and I did not see him till the main crossing was effected; and I was detained in this way, inactive and perfectly power