not twenty, only as he and General Wadsworth had told me the night before that my assistant adjutant-general had ordered, stating, of which some of my officers were witnesses at this previous interview, that the movement of crossing with the number of men would be at the discretion of the commanding officer, then understood to be General Wadsworth. On examining the rebel positions with my glass, I said to General Reynolds, "I doubt if there are 50 men there, and there are certainly not 300," to which he appeared to assent, when I added, "You have 15,000." At first General Reynolds thought he would send his men round by the upper bridges to come down and capture that position, and some troops were so ordered to move, but soon halted, and, after my repetition of similar remarks again to General Reynolds, he then directed General Wadsworth to effect the crossing, which was done very shortly after. This was betwewen 9 and 10 a. m. As soon as I saw the preparations fairly made for crossing, I went down and directed the pushing on the pontoon equipage and a few pontoons then in the field near the road, which Lieutenant-Colonel Pettes informed me had been brought back by the alarmed teamsters when the firing broke out. And the men drawing the wagons down and unloading them rapidly, as the lodgment had been effected by General Wadsworth, the bridges were commenced at once at about 10.15 o'clock, and by 12 o'clock they were both completed and troops crossing, as Lieutenant-Colonel Pettes has stated to me, I having left about five minutes previously to go to General Hooker, as directed.
The report of Lieutenant-Colonel Pettes, a copy of which is herewith respectful submitted, * shows that after I had left Generals Reynolds and Wadsworth, at 11.30 p. m. of the 28th, some of the boats were carried part way to the river by hand, and that then General Wadsworth ordered them to reload the pontoons on the trucks to take them down by the teams. The redistribution of the balks on different wagons, as necessary to protect the boats, and the finding of the teams of the unloaded boats ordered to be sent out of the way, and finding the different boats scattered along the road in the night, must alone have unavoidably caused great delay, as Lieutenant-Colonel Pettes states. Notwithstanding this, the boats for some 1,200 men were ready in the water by 4.30 o'clock, and reported to General Wadsworth, and with my oarsmen in them, but no men were at hand to enter them for crossing; there being thus a failure of what I had considered vital to the whole affair, and that I had directed Lieutenant-Colonel Pettes to ask for, and that I requested at my last previous interview with Generals Reynolds and Wadsworth - that the crossing squads of about 60 each should be detailed for and attached to and accompany each boat down from the edge of the woods.
This failure, with the countermand of my orders about carrying boats by hand, was, in my opinion, the cause of the delay in crossing and laying of the bridges at the hours directed at the lower point, and, as I have stated, at the upper crossings, though a large portion of the boats were down at the water's edge in very good time, or soon after 1 a. m. The failure of the crossing squads to be ready with the boats to cross, as repeatedly asked for previously by me, together with the want of an officer of rank to direct the combinations of the operations, as previously stated by me, were the causes of the delay at this crossing. I can only say that everything that all my forethought could devise and my untiring vigilance could execute, without one particle of sleep for
* Not found.
14 R R - VOL XXV, PT I