mission of information, might be used to deter responsible officers from communicating information to the commanding general, I withdrew Captain Sanders before the action closed, by an order.
Question. For what purpose was he sent? Was it not to report to you the state and progress of affairs, and did he not so report?
Answer. I have already answered the first part of that question. As to his reports, all the dispatches from him are on file in my evidence before the Court. As to whether he reported all that he should have reported, and all the information to be obtained, I presume the Court will ascertain from him and from other evidence.
Question. Was there any information not furnished you by General Burnside, or through other sources, which, if received, would have influenced your conduct of the action? If so, what?
Answer. I have already informed the Court that all the information that I received has been placed before them in the shape of official documents. It is impossible for me to say what my action would have been if I had received any other information. I acted upon the information I received.
Question. What time did Captain Sanders leave General Burnside to return to you?
Answer. I should say it was about 8.30; between that and 9, as near as I can recollect. I have a copy of the order to him which I can furnish, if desired.
Question. You state that General Burnside's dispatch of 9 a.m. was the first information you had received that any collision had taken place or that there was any enemy in our front. Had you not, before the receipt of this dispatch, written to General Burnside in reference to General Griffin's attack and repulse, also received a dispatch from Captain Sanders speaking of captured colors, also seen and examined rebel prisoners taken that morning?
Answer. In reply to that question I would say that I am willing to assume that there is an apparent discrepancy in my testimony which I am very glad to have an opportunity of explaining. I should suppose that any one cognizant of the circumstances that took place on that day, even of the most general nature, would know that I never meant to say that I did not know that there was no enemy anywhere. I was fully aware that when the crater was occupied a number of prisoners were taken. I was also aware that the enemy occupied their lines both on the right and on the left of the position occupied by General Burnside, and I did know that Captain Sanders had made a report of captured colors and that an attack had been made in front of Griffin; but my whole attention was absorbed in the endeavor to have a charge made to the crest, and my thoughts were all upon that; and when I said this was the first intimation I had of there being any enemy in the front I meant any enemy so situated as to prevent a direct assault upon the crest. Besides which I must throw myself upon the consideration of the Court and say that the vast number of dispatches, the frequency with which they were sent and received, was such that my memory may not serve me well, and the incidents may be, in a measure, not related in the exact order in which they occurred. I wish to call the attention of the Court to a very important fact, for the benefit of General Burnside, if it results to his benefit, as well as to mine, and that is the difficulty of having the time of these dispatches uniform. A dispatch is sen to me marked with the time of the officer who sends it, but the time by his watch may be ten or fifteen minutes different from mine. But I do honestly and conscientiously say that that was the first positive information, when I received that dispatch that the men of the Ninth and Eighteenth Corps were returning, that I had there was any such force or disposition of the enemy as to render it questionable that that assault could be made.
(General Burnside here remarked: "I want the record in such a shape as to enable the casual reader and the revising officer to see that there was before that time an effort on my part, or on the part of some person near me, to give information, and not an effort to cast any imputation on General Meade; and I do not desire to invalidate his testimony, but simply to elaborate. I am confident that there is no disposition on the part of General Meade to make erroneous statements.")