War of the Rebellion: Serial 080 Page 0072 OPERATIONS IN SE. VA. AND N. C. Chapter LII.

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Answer. The colored troops moved from their position in rear of our advance line by flank up to the position we hard carried in the enemy's line, and from there endeavored to move in line to the front.

Question. Could General Ord's troops get into action at any other point than at the crater?

Answer. I received positive information from General Potter that his troops were not in the way, and that General Ord could have moved to the right; and I distinctly understood from General Ord that he had given orders for his troops to move to the right of the ground that we occupied. As to how many obstacles they would have met in that movement I am not here prepared to say. I am satisfied of one thing, that General Ord gave the necessary orders for an advance in that direction. As to the effort that were made I am not personally cognizant. General Potter, who held the right of our line, is a more intelligent witness upon that point than I am.

Question. Did any officer report to you that his troops could not be got forward?

Answer. No, sir; I received a report from Colonel-Loring, which General Meade opened, stating to me that there was either great difficulty in getting the troops to move from that crater, or something to that effect. That paper is lost as far as I can find. I have ordered it to be looked for. But Colonel Loring was not a commander of troops; he was an aide-de-camp of mine. but no commander of troops reported to me that his troops could not be brought forward.

Question. Please to state what were the obstacles-abatis or other obstacles-in front of the enemy's line in the neighborhood of the crater; were they a serious opposition to the passage of troops?

Answer. On the right and left of the crater beyond the parts that had been affected by the explosion there were both abatis and chevaux-de-frise, principally the latter, constructed by placing rails in the parapet, sharpening the points, and I suppose tying them back or putting in sticks to hold them in their positions, but of that I cannot say, because I was not close enough to determine that fact. Considerable abatis was in one portion of the line lying upon these rails, which the enemy had not been able to place, in consequence of the constant fire from our troops in the front line. I do not think the obstacle was remarkably formidable, but it was a sufficient obstacle to stop the progress of troops. There would have been a necessity for their removal by pioneers before troops could passed over.

Question. How much of the enemy's breast-works were blown up by the springing of the mine; how much of the abatis destroyed?

Answer. The report of Colonel Pleasants will be before you, and he will give you that exactly. I should place it at from 145 feet, say 150 feet. There was not as much of their line disturbed as I expected. I supposed that for a considerable distance on the right and left of the line the earth would have been so much disturbed as to cause chevaux-de-frise to fall from the parapet.

Question. Was the ground around the crater commanded by the ground held by the enemy?

Answer. Yes, sir; to a very great extent.

Question. What was your opinion at the time of the force of the enemy resisting your advance on the 30th of July?

Answer. From data received by me, and especially from a dispatch received very soon before the order to withdraw came, I judged there was about a division and a half-certainly not to exceed two divisions. This force consisted of troops that were in the line when the mine was exploded and troops that were moved from the enemy's right. No troops were reported to me as having moved from the enemy's left. There was a signal station in front of my line, from which I think any important movement of troops from the enemy's left could have been discovered. They certainly could not have approached our line from the enemy's left without being observed. I received a dispatch from my signal officer, Captain Paine, stating that the enemy's right was very much weekend. This was not communicated to me direct, inasmuch as I had left my headquarters to visit General Potter's, and it did not reach me in time to communicate the substance of it to General Meade before the orders to withdraw came.