War of the Rebellion: Serial 080 Page 0069 Chapter LII. THE RICHMOND CAMPAIGN.

Search Civil War Official Records

ment of troops as it would be supposed by a person hearing that the abatis still remained in front of the line. I have never ascertained from any one that the troops were at all obstructed in passing over, and I am, therefore, free to say I made no special inquiry upon that subject. If I remember right, it is the first time it has occurred to me since the reading of General Meade's order, but I do remember that not much was expended to be done, in view of our close proximity to the enemy. This refers to the front over which the troops had to pass. I will state definitely that there was no expectation on my part that that portion of the order could be carried out without discovery and without very great harm to the troops that would have to prepare this work, and in my order I place no clause of that nature, but it was distinctly understood that the troops were to be provided with pioneer tools and other means of clearing away such obstructions as might be in the way, understood between myself and the division commanders.

Question. Did you intend that the obstructions should not be removed until the pioneers advanced with the columns, or did you intend that they were to be removed by the division commanders the night before, and what division commanders were charged with the

execution of that order?

Answer. I did not intend any of my division commanders to do any work in the way of removing obstructions on that night, because I did not expect that they could do it, and besides, I was ordered to be believe on the line by General Ord's troops, and to concentrate my troops for the assault; but I will state again that there was an understanding between the division commanders and myself, that anything that could be done in that direction would be done. I did not expect them to do anything; there was no order to that effect from me unless it was contained in my verbal orders to the division commanders. My remarks now apply to work on the advance line, where I did not suppose that any work could be done without discovery by the enemy, in consequence of its close proximity to the enemy's line to the front of the main line. There were covered ways cut both to General Willcox's and to General Potter's front.

Question. What time elapsed from the springing of the mine to the forward movement of the assaulting columns, and how long was it before the crater was reached by the storming party?

Answer. At the risk of involving the same difference in time as in similar matters I will state that it was about five minutes until the advance column moved forward, and say ten minutes before the leading column reached the crater. This delay occurred in consequence of the hesitation which has been already alluded to in my evidence, but not personally known to me. And it is not impossible that I may be mistaken as to the time. There was only one column started to move to the crater, because the divisions were ordered to go in succession, the first division, General Ledlie commanding, leading in consequence of the probability that a breach would not be made sufficiently broad in the enemy's line to admit more than one column, my intention up to the day of the attack being to make the assault by my plan, which you have before you.

Question. To what did you attribute the halting of the troops in the crater, instead of proceeding to the crest immediately as by the order?

Answer. To the breaking up of the column in consequence of the inequality of the ground and to the continual habit of the men for the last thirty or forty days of protecting themselves by almost every obstruction they came in contact with.

Question. In what order and tactical formation were your divisions ordered to go in?

Answer. I ordered the division commanders to use their discretion in carrying their divisions in, giving them my general views on the subject, my general directions being to carry them in if possible in column by regiments, but the regiment being so equal, some being not more than 100 strong and some 600 or 700, it was thought best for them to go in in such formation as to be able to deploy rapidly in two lines as soon as they gained the crest-General Ledlie taking the center, General Potter taking the line perpendicular to the main line of works, and General Willcox the line parallel to the Jerusalem plank road.

Question. Were these movements of the divisions successive or simultaneous?

Answer. They were successive.