War of the Rebellion: Serial 080 Page 0065 Chapter LII. THE RICHMOND CAMPAIGN.

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I made the remark that none of General Ord's troops were in the enemy's line, and he would have no trouble in withdrawing; that none but the troops of the Ninth Corps were in the line, and I thought that my opinion on that subject would probably be a proper one to be received; and I stated that I did not think that we had fought long enough that day; that I felt that the crest could still be carried if a decided effort were made to carry it. To that I received the reply that the order was final, or something to that effect. General Meade in his evidence states that I gave no reasons why I thought the crest could be carried, and it will not be amiss for me to say that no reasons were asked, and that he simply stated that the order was final. I was then satisfied that the best time to withdraw those troops would be after night-fall; that it would be best to retain possession of the place till after night fall. I thought from reports which I had received from my aides-de-camp and division commanders that we could then withdraw the troops. I had myself witnessed a very handsome repulse of the enemy by our troops just before leaving to go to General Meade's headquarters.

At this point the Court took a recess.

After recess General BURNSIDE resumed his testimony, saying:

I will supply one or two omissions in this disjointed narrative now. Some time before I received the order from General Meade to put in my whole force I received a verbal message from General Willcox by one of his aides, Captain Brackett, that it was useless to send more troops up that line at that point, that all the troops were there that could be handled, or could be used, or words to that effect; and that an immediate attack should be made both upon our right and left. That is as far as I can remember of the message. I am under the impression I immediately transmitted this message to General Meade either by a staff officer of my or own by one of his. I also said that in several conversation with General Meade I stated to him that I was satisfied that the explosion of the mine our front and the advance of our troops would enable a strong skirmish line to carry everything on the left. I am of the impression that I expressed that opinion to General Meade the day before the fight in the presence of General Potter and General Willcox. I know that I expressed it to him half a dozen times. After it had been decided by General Meade finally that the troops were to be withdrawn I was necessarily very much exercised as to the best method withdrawal. I had directed General White, who was acting on that day as chief of staff, to remain on the line until he heard from me, and that I would send him the result of my interview with General Meade. I wish to read here the dispatch I sent him and the accompanying note written by General White:


"July 30, 1864.

"Brigadier-General WHITE,

"Chief of Staff:

"I have no discretion in the matter. The order is peremptory to withdraw. It may be best to intrench where we are for the present, but we must withdraw as soon as practicable and prudent.




" Division commanders will instruct in accordance with the within dispatch, the officers on the line to consult and determine the time of evacuation.

"By order of Major-General Burnside:


"Brigadier-General and Chief of Staff."

I sent for my division commanders after sending that dispatch. Feeling confident that the reports I had received that our people would be able to hold the position which they then occupied until night, certainly, and feeling that if they were not, one time for evacuation was about as good as another, I thought it best to have a perfect understanding as to the method of withdrawal. They came to my headquarters and it was decided that we should dig a trench or trenches from our main line to the crater, and thereby enable them to withdraw without serious loss. It will be remembered that this distance is but a little over 100 yards, and taking into consideration the radius of the crater it is probably less than that distance. General Willcox had already given instructions, as he informed me and as I know, to dig a trench connecting our advance line with the crater, and I am not sure that the other divisions commanders had not commenced like operations. I remember the fact being stated at the conversation at my headquarters that the work was going on, and