War of the Rebellion: Serial 080 Page 0100 OPERATIONS IN SE. VA. AND N. C. Chapter LII.

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Question. Why did you retire?

Answer. My troops were driven back from that point. They afterward retired from the crater under orders. They were driven back from the advanced position at the time the panic seized the negroes, which more or less affected all our troops, and the negroes rushing through them as they did carried them back. The rebels made a very desperate attack at the same time.

Question. If the enemy's parapets had been leveled on each side of the crater or made practicable for the passage of troops what would have been the probable result?

Answer. I am not sure that I can tell what the result would have been. Probably the troops might have advanced more readily and with more force, but it was not a thing easy to do.

Question. Do you know anything that prevented the troops, having attained the crater, from going forward immediately to the crest of Cemetery Hill?

Answer. Nothing more than the sharp fire from the enemy.

Question. What kind of fire?

Answer. All kinds. I would state here that there is another reason why my troops could not go forward. The ground where they were was broken up with covered ways and numerous rifle-pits of the rebels. We had just driven the rebels out, and my troops occupied their places; therefore in that position, disconnected, as many of them were, it was difficult and almost impossible to form them to make a direct charge; but if a column had moved farther to the left I did not see any reason why they should not have gone in.

Question. Suppose you had had working parties to level the works, those working parties being supplied with fascines and other necessary preparations to render a passage practicable, could you not have gone forward then?

Answer. I do not think there was time for that work - it would have taken hours. I think the time to go forward was at the first, because very soon after we went there the enemy concentrated their troops and poured into us at that point a terrible fire from every quarter.

Question. The great mistake, then, was the halting of the troops in the crater?

Answer. Yes, sir.

Question. Whose troops were they?

Answer. General Ledlie's division.

Question. Could the troops have gone over the enemy's parapets on the left of the crater, in line of battle, immediately after the explosion of the mine?

Answer. I think they could; but I could not say positively because my attention was directed more particularly to the right of the crater.

Question. Could they have done it on the right?

Answer. No, sir; on account of those numerous cross lines and pits and covered ways which were full of the enemy even after we arrived there; and others kept pouring in in addition to those that were already there.

Question. When the troops retired from the crater was it compulsory from the enemy's operations or by orders from your commander?

Answer. Partly both. We retired because we had orders. At the same time a column of troops came up to attack the crater and we retired instead of stopping to fight. This force of the enemy came out of a ravine, and we did not see them till they appeared on the rising ground immediately in front of us.

Question. Where was your position during the contest?