War of the Rebellion: Serial 080 Page 0082 OPERATIONS IN SE. VA. AND N. C. Chapter LII.

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TESTIMONY OF Lieutenant General U. S. GRANT.

Lieutenant General U. S. GRANT, U. S. Army, being sworn and examined by the JUDGE-ADVOCATE, says:

Question. Will you please to state what in your judgment caused the failure of the attack on the enemy's lines on the 30th of July?

Answer. It seemed to me that it was perfectly practicable for the men, if they had been properly led, to have gone straight through the breach which was caused by the explosion on the mine, and to have gone to the top of Cemetery Hill. It looked to me, from what I would see and hear, that it was perfectly practicable to have taken the men through; but whether it was because the men themselves would not go, or whether it was because they were not led, I was not far enough to the front to be qualified to say.

Question. What orders which you issued were not executed, if any?

Answer. I could send you copies of all the dispatches that I wrote. The orders for the assault were issued by General Meade in obedience to general instructions from me. I saw the detailed order of General Meade before the mine was exploded, and I thought that the execution of that order was practicable. That order I presume you have before you. My order was to General Meade, and then General Meade made his order from what I directed him to do, and sent me a copy of it, and I thought it was all that could be required. I recollect that, failing on the north bank of the river to surprise the enemy as we expected or hoped to do, but instead of that drew a large part of his force to the north side, I telegraphed to General Meade that we would now take advantage of the absence of that force of the enemy to explode the mine and make an assault on Petersburg.

By the COURT:

Question. From your information how many of the enemy were in Petersburg at the time of this assault?

Answer. My information was that three divisions were left in Petersburg, with one brigade absent from those division - Johnston's. From the best evidence none of the enemy's troops crossed the James River until 2 o'clock of the 30th of July, on their way back. Then they had fully sixteen miles to travel to get back, with, however, the advantage of a railroad near them to carry many of the men. The distance I guess at when I say sixteen miles.


Lieutenant Colonel C. B. COMSTOCK, aide-de-camp, being duly sworn and examined by the JUDGE-ADVOCATE, says:

Question. Were you at or near the scene of the assault on the 30th of July? By whose orders, and in what capacity?

Answer. I was at General Burnside's headquarters as aide-de-camp to Lieutenant-General Grant, and afterward at General Warren's headquarters by General Grant's orders.

Question. Did you see General Burnside in person, and had you conversation with him?

Answer. I had some conversation with him.

Question. Relate the conversation in brief.

Answer. I went from General Burnside's headquarters to the position he had in the front to ascertain how things stood. I suppose the time was about and hour after the explosion of the mine. He told me that his troops were forming then for an assault to carry the crest of the hill. That was the only important point in the conversation.

Question. Did he give you any information to communicate to General Grant?

Answer. I do not recollect that he did.