War of the Rebellion: Serial 080 Page 0084 OPERATIONS IN SE. VA. AND N. C. Chapter LII.

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leading division to move forward rapidly according to the programme, following the division that was in front of it, which was the rear division of General Burnside's corps. In the course of twenty minutes after the order was sent out by a staff officer, General Turner reported to me that he found the way blocked; that the approach to the place of debouche was occupied by the divisions in front, and that he had found himself in front of General Potter's troops. This was the report made by him to me. General Potter's troops, according to the programme, were to precede hi.

Question. Were any arrangements made for the passage of troops through the abatis and over the parapets to go to the front on that day?

Answer. When I went to the front I found the troops debouching by a single opening. The parapet had been thrown down and the abatis had been removed, and the troops were moved out by that opening.

Question. Please state the dimensions of that opening. Would it admit of the passage of troops in column, or line, or how?

Answer. I cannot give the exact dimensions, because my attention was occupied principally in watching what was going on in front of this place, but my impression is that the opening was large enough for a column of a company front to go out, over pretty rough ground. I do not know whether there was more than one opening; I only saw that one.

Question. That was the one your troops passed through?

Answer. No; my troops did not all pass through that way. I directed a portion of my troops to go over the parapet.

Question. Did you direct them to go over the parapet because in your judgment the opening was inadequate?

Answer. I gave those directions because the ground in front of this place of exit was occupied by the other troops and there was no room after they got our for them to be of service without moving for a considerable distance by the flank to the right and left.

Question. How were the troops that debouched to the assault formed to advance?

Answer. When I went to the front I saw white troops moving out by the flank into the crater and the trenches near. I say by the flank, but I will explain that they passed along by twos and threes and sometimes fours along this space, which was pretty well swept by the fire of the enemy - the space between our trenches and the crater formed by the explosion of the mine. These white troops were followed afterward by some colored troops, who also moved out, as it were, by flank, though the appearance of moving by flank may have been caused by the columns being somewhat disordered and hesitating in the move, so that a few moving forward first and others following them would diminish the width of a column and give the troops the appearance of moving by flank.

Question. In your opinion was this movement by flank judicious or was it unavoidable?

Answer. I would not suppose it was a judicious move under the circumstances if it could have been avoided. I rather if intended to be a movement with a front of one or more companies then the kind of formation I saw was caused by the hesitation of the troops in the rear and the natural disposition of those men who are more of less timid, in following those in front, to string themselves out in almost single file.

Question. What, in your opinion, were some of the causes of failure of that occasion?

Answer. I think the first cause was that the troops were not well disciplined. They probably had not had time to become soldiers. The next cause may have been that they passed out of the trenches by one place of exit and through the covered way to a considerable extent, which necessarily impeded the progress of troops going out, especially as troops began coming in by the same covered way.

Question. Were the obstacles met by our troops, in your opinion, formidable?