War of the Rebellion: Serial 080 Page 0103 Chapter LII. THE RICHMOND CAMPAIGN.

Search Civil War Official Records

Question. State what you did there.

Answer. I accompanied the Second Brigade of the Third Division of the Ninth Corps across the ravine and up to within ten rods of our breast-works, at the point where the troops passed through immediately after the explosion of the mine. I took position in a bomb-proof which had been used as some regimental headquarters, and remained there for the purpose of dressing wounds. This bomb-proof is located at a point about ten rods in rear of our line. Shortly after I took up that position General Ledlie, of the First Division, and Ferrero, of the Fourth, came up to the front of the bomb-proof, and shortly afterward came in and took seats. This was in the morning about half an hour after the explosion of the mine. That was some time before the colored troops came up. The Third Division (General Willcox's) was then lying in a little did of the ground - lying flat upon the ground to avoid shelling at that point, and General Ledlie's troops of the First Division had crossed over our breast-works and gone over to the front immediately after the explosion. I saw them go up. I was where I could see the explosion and the movements of the troops as they passed over the space between our works and the fort. Our division, and our brigade of that division, remained in that position for some time. General Ledlie came there and sat down in front of the place where I was; remained there some little time, and afterward went inside and sat down. I could not tell how long, but not a great length of time after he came, General Ferrero came in. His troops were then lying in the covered way and on the flat. They had not yet come up to go into action. While things were in that position our Third Division made a move, charged over the works, some of them went to the fort and some, I believe, came back. Then General Ferrero had brought his division up to that point, and seemed to be waiting for some orders or movement. General Ledlie received orders in my hearing to move his troops forward from where they were then lying. The order came something like this, as near as I can recollect: "The general wishes you to move your troops forward to the crest of the hill and hold it." To the best of my recollection that was the meaning of the order, at least, and I think very near the words. I do not know who the order came from. It was brought by an officer, and I supposed that "the general" meant General Burnside. General Ledlie dispatched an aide or some other officer to order that done. Then shortly afterward came an order to General Ferrero to move his division through and charge down to the city. He replied that he would do so "as soon as those troops were out of the way." He did not designate what troops, so that I understood "those troops" meant the troops that were already there, but this order came two or three times, and the last time it came the order was peremptory "to move his troops forward at once." His answer to the order always was that he would do so as soon as "those troops" were out of the way, and whenever General Ferrero made that answer General Ledlie sent an aide to order the troops out of the way and see that it was done, so that it became my impression that it was his troops that were in the way. These two general officers were in the bomb-proof with me. General Ledlie's troops were in the crater and General Ferrero's were in the rear. After General Ferrero received this last, peremptory order, he went out, General Ledlie went out with him, and the colored troops commenced moving past the order of the bomb-proof - as it was in the track that troops took - and moved up; and I stepped out and saw them go over our works just in front of where General Ledlie's division passed over. Then they passed out of sight of where I was standing, but in a very short time I heard they were coming back, and, sure enough, they poured down all along in that vicinity with a good many white troops mixed with them. About that time General Ferrero returned. I am not positive if General Ledlie returned or not, and in answer to somebody who asked him how the battle was going, General Ferrero said we had lost everything, or something to that effect; that we were repulsed. He said it was nonsense to send it was nonsense to send a single body of troops (colored or white) forward at one single place, in front of lines held by us, to throw them in the face of a re-enforced enemy, or an enemy who had opportunity to bring other forces to bear. General Ferrero said he thought his division was needlessly slaughtered.

By the COURT:

Question. Did you see General Ledlie when his division advanced?

Answer. No, sir; I did not. Our division was lying in the covered was at the point in our first line of works about opposite the fourteen-gun battery, as it is called, and I had passed up the line of the hill to the crest where I looked over the breastwork and saw those troops move forward, but I could not see everything distinctly because there was considerable distance across the ravine or hollow to his division.

Question. Was there any conversation between those generals and yourself while they were in the bomb-proof bearing on this subject?

Answer. I asked General Ledlie, soon after he came in, if his division had been property supported. The reason of my asking it was that I thought I heard some