War of the Rebellion: Serial 080 Page 0122 OPERATIONS IN SE. VA. AND N. C. Chapter LII.

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for charging over, as the troops were partially protected pretty near all the way up, from the left flanking fire, by a very small ridge; the men could have passed over easily, and there were very few dead or wounded lying on that space between our line and the crater. The men seemed to be lying in the crater and on our side of the crater, but no movements seemed to be taking place. I saw General Turner at that time going to the crater. There seemed to be a lack of enthusiasm or spirit in both officers and men. The negro division filed over our parapet and went into the crater by the flank, exposing their whole line, as they passed over from our line to the enemy's, to the fire from both sides of the crater. At between 9 and 10 o'clock the cross-fire of the enemy in front of the salient had become so severe that hardly a man could pass from our salient to the crater without being hit. At this front line that I went to there seemed to be no person of any authority to meet any emergency that might arise, and in that, in my opinion, lies one of the chief causes of the disaster. The chief caused of failure are, in the first place, that the mine was in the wrong place, because it was in a re-entrant, and, in the second, that there was no officer present to make a new dispositions or movements to meet any emergency that might arise. It seemed to me, so far as I could see, that the troops were not ready to move. They were in the covered way, and so situated that you could not follow the assaulting columns up with the necessary supports. As it was, the assaulting column if it had gone forward would be a mile ahead before the supports could get up. I was present when General Turner sent back a note to General Ord saying that he could not get his troops forward on account of General Burnside's troops being in the way. General Ord then sat down and wrote a letter to General Meade-I believe it was to General Meade-telling him that he would advance Turner's division as soon as General Burnside's troops were out of the way. He showed it to General Burnside, who asked him not to send it, for he would have his troops out of the way immediately; but whether he ever sent it or not I do not know. General Ord then went to the front himself, at the time that General Turner said he could not get his troops forward, and found the same state of things existing-that the covered way was filled up with General Burnside's troops going to the front, and that the wounded were being brought to the rear in the same covered way that the troops going forward to fight were going forward in. There was no reason why the troops should move through the covered way at all. From the position of the assaulting columns and the troops fighting, the enemy could not notice troops passing down the slope of the hill without going through the covered way. The colored troops seemed to be well led, and followed their officers with as much enthusiasm as any other troops that day. They seemed to go about 200 or 250 yards to the right of the crater going toward the enemy's entrenchments. Then there came a halt, and by that time General Turner had got one of his brigades to the front, and he ordered an assault with his brigade. Instead of passing along the edge of the crater as the other troops had done, which gave them a temptation to lie down, he charged to the right of the crater. It was just then that the negroes came back and his men were carried back with them. I went to the front immediately after this affair, where I saw General Turner, and he seemed to be very much distressed about it.

Question. State if there were any means taken for crowning the crest if gained-working parties with fascines, gabions, intrenching tools, &c.

Answer. I can speak only with reference to myself. I had my sappers and miners equipped with tools ready to move with the Eighteenth Corps when it should move.

Question. With the ordinary performance of their duties by officers and men on such occasions, ought not the assault to have been successful?

Answer. It was successful, for the line was carried. It only wanted some person present to tell them what to do afterward. I think that had there been any person of authority at the place, even at our own front line, at the salient, to have given directions at the proper time we had ninety-nine chances in one hundred of being successful in the object expected to be gained. From my own experience I know that it would take you at least three minutes to get to the front through the covered way, because it was so crowded, and three minutes to get back again to where the general was, and then count your time for observation besides; and at that time, when the opposing forces were so close to each other, ten minutes would make a great deal of difference. I think that, with the exception of a lack of enthusiasm, the troops behaved as well as troops ever behaved. What they wanted was handling. Just in front of the crater, in rear of the enemy's line, there was a sort of a redoubt or earthwork upon the hill, from which not a shot was fired. There was not a soul between the crater and that position, and I believe that position was the objective point of