TESTIMONY OF LIEUTENANT BENYAURD.
Lieutenant W. H. H. BENYAURD, U. S. Engineers, being duly sworn, says to questions by JUDGE-ADVOCATE:
Question. Were you present at the assault on the rebel lines on the 30th of July, and in what capacity?
Answer. I was with General Burnside on that morning. I was sent by Major Duane to report to him for duty as an engineer.
Question. Were you in a situation, then, to see the progress of events on that day?
Answer Not all the time. A portion of the time I was with General Burnside at his headquarters; and then, afterward, I was at different points along the front. I was not in such a position that I could see everything that was going on.
Question. Were there working parties for the assaulting columns, and engineer officers to lead them?
Answer. Not that I know of.
Question. No arrangements had been made with you by General Burnside for anything of that sort?
Answer. No, sir; not previous to the assault.
Question. Do you know if any arrangements were made for the debouche of our troops from our lines and their passage over the enemy's?
Answer. No, sir. General Burnside did not give me any instructions in regard to taking away the abatis on the rifle-pits on the front line.
Question. Were the obstructions on the enemy's line formidable, and of what did they consist?
Answer. They had a pretty strong abatis in front of their rifle-pits.
Question. Could they have been removed by working parties that usually accompany assaulting columns?
Answer. I did not go near enough to the crater along that line to judge of that, although it appeared to be merely the usual abatis placed in front of works and placed in the usual position.
Question. Did you see the explosion of the mine?
Answer. Yes, sir.
Question. Was its effect to clear for any distance, and, if so, how much, the enemy's parapets?
Answer. Only a portion of the parapet was blown down. A portion of it remained standing. I suppose the crater that was formed might have been forty or fifty yards long and perhaps twenty wide.
Question. Was the breach sufficient and practicable for the passage of troops in line?
Answer. I did not go in to look at the crater, and consequently I could no say whether they could go in without further work being done or not. I could not tell how deep it was.
Question. As an engineer, would you criticism that point of attack?
Answer. I had been there working on that front before, and I had frequently expressed the opinion that the enemy could bring a flank fire all along there - that is, their line formed a kind of re-entering there.
Question. Did you ever change to hear why that point was selected, or do you know?
Answer. I did hear that that mine was made because that hollow in front was a good position to run a mine from.
7 R R-VOL XL, PT I