War of the Rebellion: Serial 080 Page 0095 Chapter LII. THE RICHMOND CAMPAIGN.

Search Civil War Official Records

TESTIMONY OF MAJOR-GENERAL HUMPHREYS.

Major General A. A. HUMPHREYS, U. S. Volunteers, chief of staff, being duly sworn, says to questions by JUDGE-ADVOCATE:

Question. Were you with General Meade during the assault on the 30th of July?

Answer. I was.

Question What was the substance or language of a dispatch which he received from Lieutenant-Colonel Loring, assistant inspector-general of the Ninth Corps, but addressed to General Burnside, about 5.45 a. m. of that day?

Answer. The substance of the dispatch was, that some of the troops there, I think Ledlie's division, were in the crater and would not go forward, and asking that some other division of some other troops should be sent to go forward to the crest. The main point with me, however, was that his troops were in the crater and were not going forward as they ought to have done.

Question. Relate what passed at the interview between General Burnside and Generals Grant and Meade after the former had been directed to withdraw the troops from the crater and prior to the withdrawal of the troops.

Answer. I recollect the directions to General Burnside, which were that if he could not withdraw his troops with security during the day they should be withdrawn at night; that he best time for the withdrawal of the troops he himself should be the best judge of. My impression is that General Burnside did not wish to withdraw them. He certainly so expressed himself to me after General Meade left, for I did not leave the headquarters of General Burnside the same time as General Meade, but remained there a short time. I do not know whether he so expressed himself to General Meade and General Grant of not. I thought I understood the conditions that existed there, and there was no question in my mind as to the necessity of withdrawing them.

Question. Did you understand it to be his wish to maintain his position in the crater?

Answer. I did not pay much attention to what he said to General Meade and General Grant, but he so expressed himself to me afterward; but inasmuch as he stated no facts which put a different aspect on the condition of things I did not consider that he gave very good reasons for his wish. He certainly differed from General Ord.

Question. Did you hear General Ord give any opinion as to the probable success of carrying the crest if persisted in for a captain time, and, if so, what was it?

Answer. I heard him then or before express the opinion that the time was past; he was averse to it. I did not pay so much attention to what was said at that time, for the reason that the facts were all known and the conclusions come to in regard to them.

Question. Were you at the fourteen-gun battery near which General Burnside had his temporary headquarters on that day?

Answer. Yes; I rode out there. I think it was between 10 and 11 o'clock when I rode out there. I had been there before, and am somewhat familiar with the ground.

Question. Could anything ge seen from there with sufficient distinctness to have enabled the commanding general to give orders other than he did from the point occupied by him?

Answer. I think not. I do not think it made any difference whether he was there or whether he was at the point he occupied. In the gratification of a personal wish to see, simply, he might have seen something more, but it would not have made any difference in the conclusions arrived at. He would have understood matters as thoroughly where he was as if he had seen them.