General Meade more military skill than I possessed, and more ability to put troops in action, but that my troops had been given to corps commanders both on my right and on my left and placed in action by them; and, as I before said, I simply desired to have accorded to me what I had accorded to them.
It was decided, I believe, at that time, that no assault should be made; but I, notwithstanding, sent for General Ferrero and directed him to go down to our advance line and select positions for concentrating his division, to look at the positions on the line over which he had to pass, and to reconnoiter the ground over which his division would have to pass in an assault upon Cemetery Hill. I also directed him to send his brigade commanders down for the same purpose, and indicated to him exactly the position which I wanted him to take, and the parts of the line over which I desired him to pass. I requested that he would present to me a plan for the maneuvering of his troops in case assault of that kind were ordered.
In accordance with that, General Ferrero presented me a plan which is in substance laid down in my plan of attack, and continued in the proceedings already before you. (See document L). I approved of this plan, especially that part of it which contemplated the movement of troops to the right and left of the breach which we might make in the line in order to allow the other column to proceed to the front without any molestation from any of the enemy that might be left in the rifle-pits on the right and left of the breach. This must have been fifteen or twenty days, if not more, before the assault was made. I was afterward informed by General Ferrero that his troops had been drilled for a movement of that kind, and was informed by a large number of his officers that it was their understanding that they were to make an attack with them; that, if I stake not, they had passed over lines of intrenchments, performing the movement with a view to familiarizing their men with the movement, and they each and all expressed to me the greatest possible confidence in their ability to accomplish the work, which I considered a very material element in making the movement.
Nothing of importance occurred for a few days before the mine was sprung, except ordinary conversation with reference to the charge which was to be placed in the mine. I myself from a long experience in experiments with gunpowder, having been a manufacturer of arms several years before the war commenced and in constant practice with fire-arms, had a particular view with reference to the mode in which the mine should be charged, and the amount of charge to be placed in it. It was not in accordance with the methods laid down in scientific works upon the subject of military mining, but entirely in accordance with all experience in mining and blasting by civil engineers within the last two or three years since the method of heavy tamping had been abandoned. It is not worth while for me to enter here into an explanation of my theory, because I can present the report of the officer who built the mine, and that will explain the matter fully. It is sufficient to say that the mine was charged partially upon my theory and partially upon the theory of the old established plan of military mining. In the theory which I decided to be adopted large charge could be used without detriment, in my opinion, to persons in the immediate proximity of the mine, but persons who were not of my opinion felt that the effect of this mine at great distance, with the charge which I proposed to place in it, would be very great and it became, from some cause or other, known to my troops, both officers and men, that a difference of opinion of that kind had arisen, and to such an extent that I have had general officers come to me and ask me if I did not think the charge so large that there was danger of injuring our own men. This feeling among the men had a certain effect which I will leave for the Court to decide, and if they request it I will send them the names of witnesses who have mentioned to me that impression on the subject long before the mine was exploded, so that there can be no mistake as to the impression that prevailed at the time. I myself was satisfied, without knowing definitely, that the charge which I desired to place in the mine could be placed there with safety. I witnessed this anxiety among the troops with a good deal of concern, but that it did not prevail in the division which it was supposed would make the assault (it not being then upon our lines) was a source of gratification to me. This Court will see by looking at the documents which General Meade has presented that I was directed to keep the amount of powder placed in the chambers within the limits of rules prescribed by military works upon that subject. I, however, in several verbal communications with General Meade, insisted upon the other method; and it was finally decided that we should place in the mine, 8,000 pounds of powder instead of 12,000 pounds. The ground that I took was this; that the depth of the mine, or rather, the bottom of the chambers was fixed the greater the explosion the greater the crater radius, and less inclination would be given the sides of the crater, giving a greater space for the troops to pass over, and a less inclination for them to pass up and down in the line. It was, however, determined that 8,000 pounds of