FEBRUARY 23, 1864.
The Court met pursuant to adjournment.
Present, Major-General Hunter and Cadwalader, Brigadier-General Wadsworth, and Colonel Schriver,recorder.
The Court was cleared.
After the reading of the testimony, the Court came to the following
FINDING AND OPINION IN MAJOR-GENERAL M'COOK'S CASE.
It appears from the investigation that Major-General McCook commanded the Twentieth Army Corps, composed of Sheridan's, Johnson's, and Davis' division.
His command on the 19th September, 1863 (the first day of the battle of Chickamauga), consisted of Sheridan's and Davis' divisions and of Negley's temporarily, and occupied the right of the line, Johnson's having been detached to Thomas' command.
The evidence shows that General McCook did his whole duty faithfully on that day, with activity and intelligence.
Early on the 20th September, General McCook had under his command the division of Sheridan and Davis (the latter only 1,300 to 1,400 strong), and Wilder's brigade; and the senior officers of the cavalry were told they must take orders from him, though attend to their own business.
The posting of these troops was not satisfactory to the commanding general,who, in person, directed several changes between 8 and 10.30 a.m. During these changes, involving a flank movement of the whole right to the left, the enemy made a fierce attack, taking advantage of a break in the line, caused by the precipitate and inopportune withdrawal of his division by Brig. General T. J. Wood, passing through the interval and routing the whole right and center up to Brannan's position.
The Court deem it unnecessary to express an opinion as to the relative merits of the position taken by General McCook and that subsequently ordered to be taken by the commanding general; but it is apparent from the testimony that General McCook was not responsible for the delay in forming the new line on that occasion.
If further appears that General McCook not only had impressed on him the vital importance of keeping well closed to the left, and of maintaining a compact center, but he was also ordered to hold the Dry Valley road. This caused the line to be attenuated, as stated in the testimony of the commanding general, who says that its length was greater than he thought it was when assumed. It is shown, too, that the cavalry did not obey General McCook's orders.
The above facts, and the additional one that the small force at General McCook's disposal was inadequate to defend, against greatly superior number, the long line hastily taken, under instructions, relieve General McCook entirely from the responsibility for the reverse which ensued.
It is fully established that General McCook did everything he could to rally and hold his troops after the line was broken, giving the necessary orders,&c., to his subordinates.
The Court are of opinion, however, that in leaving the filed to go to Chattanooga, General McCook committed a mistake, but his gal-
61 R R-VOL XXX, PT I