War of the Rebellion: Serial 068 Page 0278 Chapter XLVIII. OPERATIONS IN SE. VA. AND N. C.

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you did not personally reach that point until 2.30 in the morning keeping General Hinks waiting for you in the saddle from 12 to 2.30, and the excuse in your report that some of your regiments got lost is hardly an answer for your own remissness in not keeping an appointment with a general officer of nearly an equal rank with yourself and of quite as meritorious services. You also say that some of your "regiments got lost in getting to the pontoon bridge." Now, as the pontoon bridge is on the left of your line of entrenchments, it would seem that your regiments got lost within their own lines. But, is it not true that you sent no officer of your staff to direct the march of that column as is customary and usual among generals of volunteers? Nay, more. Is it not also true that your chief of staff woke me up at 2 o'clock in the morning to inquire the road, at my headquarters, to the pontoon bridge, which road should have been as familiar to him and to you as the path to your bed? The consequence was that your troops, instead of marching by a good dry road from the entrenchments across to the pontoon bridge, were dragged through the swamps a mile in the rear of your lines, in the mud reaching nearly to their knees, and fatigued with being kept up all night wandering about like sheep without a shepherd, and instead of having the hours from 12 to 3 to rest in, they had, as stated in your dispatch to me, at 3.40 a. m., just crossed the river, thus spending from 10.30 p. m. on the 8th, the time at which they actually moved, to 3.40 a. m. on the 9th (five hours and ten minutes) in moving over a space which does not exceed by measurement 4 miles, besides remaining, from 9 p. m., when they were by your order to be ready, an hour and a half under arms before they did move at all.

The question might be here asked: If it took five hours and ten minutes to get out of your lines, how long would it take you to get into the enemy's?

In your report you further say that on the evening of the 8th you were instructed to take command of the expedition. Now, you know that, at your own special request, at 12 m. it was arranged that you should take command of the expedition, and you will further remember that I sent you, at your request, at about 2 o'clock in the afternoon of the 8th, a guide, who should be able to explain to you the nature of the enemy's works. You further say in your report that General Kautz and Hinks had received all their instructions preparatorily from myself. That is true; but hose instructions to General hinks and Kautz were given in your presence and upon consultation with you. You further say in your report that some of the regiments lost the road to the pontoon bridge, so that General Kautz and Colonel Hawley (in command of your brigade) did not get their commands across until 3.40 a. m. That report throws unmerited censure upon General Kautz, because his command was ordered to "follow the infantry across the brigade," and, of course, if he obeyed his orders, until you got across he could not go over.

You stated to me in your dispatch of 3.40 a. m. that you had "no doubt the enemy are fully apprised of our movement by the noise of the brigade. It is not muffled, and the crossing of the cavalry can be heard for miles." The bridge was muffled by the engineer corps, some 10 bales of hay having been put upon it to prevent the sound of the cavalry being heard upon it, and if it was gone, it was because your troops used it up in attempting to dry the mud and water (which they should not have had upon them, if properly directed)