TESTIMONY OF Colonel H. L. ABBOT.
Colonel H. L. ABBOT, First Connecticut Artillery, being duly sworn, says to questions by JUDGE-ADVOCATE:
Question. Did you participate in the assault on the 30th of July, and what was your command, and what were your particular duties at that time?
Answer. I did participate in the assault. I was in command of all the heavy guns and mortars, eighty-one in all. I remained most of the time on the left, in charge of the mortar batteries especially. We expected fire from the enemy's salient, and I had sixteen mortars to keep it down, and I remained chiefly there and by Van Reed's battery.
Question. Do you regard the artillery fire on that occasion as very effective, and was it what it ought to have been, and what it was meant to be?
Answer. I do, sir; I think it accomplished all we hoped to do.
Question. Were there at any point obstacles to the fire of the artillery which ought to have been removed?
Answer. Yes, sir; in front of what we call the fourteen-gun battery.
Question. Please to state what they were.
Answer. This battery is nearly in front of the mine, and some trees were growing a little to its left, which masked the fire of the guns the next rebel battery to our left of the mine. These trees it was our wish to have removed. They had not been when the battery was first established, because we did not with to show the enemy what we were doing. As soon as the six 4 1/2-inch guns were in position, I was anxious to have then cleared away.
Question. What measures did you take to effect that?
Answer. I had on several occasions conversations with General Burnside on the subject, in which I referred to the necessity of their being cleared away before we could use the battery to advantage. On the night of the 27th working parties were ordered by him to cut the trees, but they were driven off after accomplishing very little. On the night of the 28th I represented the matter to General Hunt, chief of artillery, at the headquarters of the Army of the Potomac. I went with in to the telegraph office, when he telegraphed General Burnside, I should think about 7 o'clock in the evening, urging him to have the trees removed. One of my captains (Captain Pratt), who commanded the battery, was so desirous of having his field of fire clear that he took some of his own company and cut partially that night. No working parties coming on the night of the 29th the matter was again raised - by whom I do not know - but General Burnside declined to have any trees cut on that night, lest it might give the rebels an idea of the attack. But a party was formed which did being to cut as soon as the mine exploded. It partially but not entirely cleared away the trees, and the guns were enabled to do some service, but they could not see one flanking gun, which did us a good deal of harm. I could not see myself from where I was exactly what that guns was doing. I received orders from General Hunt, I should think about 7.30 o'clock, but I cannot be sure at to the exact time, to try to turn some of my mortars upon it, as it was making trouble. I did so, and made some good shots in that direction, but I do not think the fire of the gun was stopped. The battery was too far off. The trees that were removed were removed partly by my men and partly by the negroes.
Question. Where you in a situation to tell the Court whether the artillery fire of the enemy was at all effective and how soon after the explosion of the mine?
Answer. It would be very difficult to state positively, on account of the smoke and the noise of our own guns. I do not think that they fired any guns for nearly an hour. I could not detect any, although I was watching carefully and Van Reed's battery, so as to make any alternation in our fire that might be necessary. I am sure they did not fire from the place we expected it most - in front of the Fifth Corps. I do not think they fired during the day from here to do any damage. They fired a few shots, however. They fired from a 30-pounder at our battery, which, of course, did not