War of the Rebellion: Serial 080 Page 0081 Chapter LII. THE RICHMOND CAMPAIGN.

Search Civil War Official Records

act language of which I do not remember), to the effect that I would await information from some operations which had been directed or that were going on on the left, and then it was that I wrote one of the dispatches, in which I said that I thought some one should be there to direct whether I should attempt to take that battery, or go with my division round to the left, as General Crawford reported that he was unable to do anything with what force he had there on the plank road. I will qualify what I said about the loss of time. I lost considerable time talking to General Burnside; I lost some time in going to see the battery with him; I lost some time in writing dispatches and awaiting answers; and in an operation of that kind every moment was of vital importance, for, before I got the order to go in and take the battery the enemy had driven nearly all of General Burnside's line out of the intrenchments he had taken. If General Burnside's had given me any orders, as I was there for the purpose of supporting him, I would gave obeyed them; but he seemed to act as if what we did was to be done after consultation, and therefore I thought that some one should have been right there to have directed at once, without a moment's loss of time, what should be done and what should not. Those dispatches show the extent of the loss of time. But, as I said in my testimony yesterday, I do not know that it affected the result at all. But in reply to the direct question, if I thought there should have been some one there to give promptly positive orders what to do, I gave my first answer.

Question. How much time was occupied in these consultations, reconnaissances, and other matters referred to by you, and would not the commanding general, had he been at the point referred to by you, have been compelled to consume the same time?

Answer. I do not remember how much time was lost, and cannot tell exactly unless I can have my official report or a copy of it, or some records of that kind, to refer to. But it was a point of observation at which I should have consulted with nobody. Everything was plainly to be seen. Different persons might look at it differently, but it was a position where any one man could see the whole. In my opinion, the most important time was lost before I went to that point.

Question. Why did you consume the time which you acknowledge to have been lost, and why did you not at once telegraph the commanding general about what you saw and what you thought could or should be done?

Answer. The time that I speak of was consumed by General Burnside. In my instructions I was directed to support him; and I informed him where my headquarters were, as stated, not far from his. I waited there for his directions. I thought that my being with him, under orders to support him, the time lost was lost by him and not by me. I did keep the commanding general as promptly informed of everything as I possibly could. Even if I had chosen to have acted independently, according to my own discretion, subject to the approval of the commanding general, all the approaches to the point were occupied by General Burnside's troops. I could not have moved mine without getting them mixed up with hi.

By the COURT:

Question. Did you not mean in your previous answers that it was your belief that if the commanding general had been on that field there would have been a pressure brought to bear to push those troops of the Ninth Corps that occupied those trenches forward faster than they went?

Answer. I think that the controlling power should have been there and nowhere else, so that there should have been no reference to anywhere else.

Question. When you replied to the last question pu to you yesterday did you consider that the commander of the Army of the Potomac should have been present in person, or that some one should have been invested with the command of all the troops engaged in the assault as supports, reserves, &c., if said commander was not there?

Answer. I meant that some one person having general command should have been there to have seen and directed all at once.

6 R R-VOL XL, PT I