War of the Rebellion: Serial 080 Page 0087 Chapter LII. THE RICHMOND CAMPAIGN.

Search Civil War Official Records

that was going on there. We were ignorant of the condition of things excet from the information staff officers brought us or from the nature of the firing we heard, up to the time that I reformed myself by going to the front.

Question. Did you hear any staff officer report to General Burnside that the troops could not be got to advance from the crater? If so, how many officers so reported, and do you know their names?

Answer. The first two of three reports that were brought to General Burnside were brought by officers whose names I do not know, and not until some considerable time had expired after the explosion; and although I did not hear the reports distinctly enough to repeat they were not satisfactory, and indicated that the troops could not be moved readily forward.

Question. Did you not report to the commanding general that the troops were overcrowded in the crater and the enemy's adjacent works, and that in your judgment there was no probability of the crest of Cemetery Hill being carried - this, somewhere between 9 and 10 a. m., at the headquarters of the commanding general in the field?

Except. I did. I would say, in addition to my answer, that General Burnside and myself were present at the time, and the question was whether we could carry it at that time; and my answer intended to convey whether we (General Burnside and myself) with of forces could have done so had they let us; and after the troops were disorganized and driven back those who made the attack later and those who made the attack earlier were packed in the trenches adjacent, that under the circumstances we could not carry it with all our troops at that point of attack.

Question. Did General Burnside, about 10 a. m., when at his commanding general's headquarters on the field, say that he could maintain his lodgment in the crater, and that he could take Cemetery Hill before night, if so permitted?

Answer. General Burnside disagreed with me when I said I did not think we could take it. I supposed he meant that he could take it with the force he had, consisting of his own corps and my reserves, though he said something about it was time then for the Fifth Corps to move up. The remark was made by General Burnside with a view of persisting in the attack which he had commenced, and it had been my opinion, ever since I was near enough to see what was going on in the crater, that the sooner we withdrew our troops, when we got into such a bad position, the better, and any persistence in the attack at that point I looked upon as very improper.

Question. Was it not understood at this time that offensive operations should cease, but that the crater should be held till the troops could be securely withdrawn, and that this would probably be till night?

Answer. I think such was General Burnside's understanding, and I know he received such orders. My troops were all inside the intrenchments except those who had run into the enemy's trenches to avoid the tremendous fire which they met when they went out.

By General WARREN:

Question. Do you remember seeing General Warren at the battery at General Burnside's station?

Answer. I do.

Question. Was not the whole field at that time sufficiently clear from smoke to be visible, and had been so for some time previous at that point?

Answer. I do not know whether it was after my return from the vicinity of the crater or before that I saw General Warren. My impression is that each time I looked from the parapet before I left the trenches - which was two or three times - that I rose to look to the front, the smoke obscured the view so that I, at least, could form no definite idea of what was going on at the front. After the firing from the batteries on our side had ceased, which was probably an hour from the time of the assault, the atmosphere was clearer, but even then I could make out really little of what was going on in front, from the distance, the peculiar position of the point of attack, and from the fact, too, that I do not see very well because I am nearsighted.