War of the Rebellion: Serial 039 Page 0512 N. VA., W. VA., MD. AND PA. Chapter XXXVII.

Search Civil War Official Records

Brigadier General G. K. Warren's memorandum on the council of war.*

That night General Hooker consulted me about the situation, and I strongly urged an attack in force next morning and an immediate plank of battle to be adopted.

All the corps commanders met by order for consultation. General Hooker stated the condition of affairs, and expressed some apprehension of the want of steadiness of some of our troops as exhibited by uncalled for firing along some part of the line; and, as I understood, presented to their consideration on this account the question of advancing or retiring. General Hooker and General Butterfield then withdrew, but, I, thinking that some information might be desirable from me about the field of operations generally, remained. In this way I heard Generals Meade, Reynolds, and Howard speak in favor of advancing. General Couch did not at first feel competent to give an opinion, as he had not all the facts in his knowledge. General Sickles then said that his profession had not been that of a soldier, and perhaps his opinion was entitled to but little consideration in opposition to that of those he had heard. But he did not think the effect on the country of our withdrawal would be fatal; that a victory over the enemy was doubtful, and a defeat would endanger Washington. The uncertainties were against us. For his part, he would confess that he was astonished at the manner in which the commanding general had presented the subject. He expected that the responsibilities would not be thrown on them. At this point, fearing I was, on account of my confidential relations to the commanding general, out of place during such discussion, I withdrew.

Numbers 169. Reports of Captain Stephen H. Weed, Fifth U. S. Artillery, Chief of Artillery.


May 7, 1863.

COLONEL: I have the honor to submit the following report of the service of the artillery which I commanded from the 3rd to the 5th instant:

On the morning of the 3rd, between 10 and 11 o'clock, our center fell back to the open space on which stood the white house, at the intersection of what became our right and left lines. I received authority from the major-general commanding the corps, and subsequently from the general commanding the army, to place in a defensive position all the artillery I could find not otherwise posted. Nearly if not quite every corps in this army was represented in the line then formed. Fifty-six guns were placed, twenty-eight on the right, twenty-four on the left, and four in the angle. The line of our troops was a triangular one, the artillery occupying about 500 yards on each side the salient angle.

The enemy made attacks upon our right and left fronts on Sunday, the 3rd, and on the left front and salient on the 4th and 5th, with artillery and infantry. The latter was repulsed and the former silenced by our artillery fire.


*Original is in the handwriting of General Warren, and is indorsed by General Meade: "General G. K. Warren's recollections."