The detailed order or plan of operations issued by Major-General Meade is in accordance with General Grant's instructions, and was seen and approved by the latter previous to its publication. (It is marked K in the Appendix).
It is the concurrent testimony that had the order been carried out success would have attended the attack. Also it is in evidence that General Meade met General Burnside and three of his division commanders the day before the assault and impressed upon them that the operation was one of time; that unless prompt advantage were taken of the explosion of the mine to gain the crest it would be impossible to get it or the troops to remain outside of their lines.
That order directed that General Burnside should "form his troops (the Ninth Corps) for assaulting," and that General Ord, commanding the Eighteenth Corps, and General Warren, commanding the Fifth Corps, should support the assault on the right and left respectively.
Major-General Burnside's order (Numbers 60, Appendix) directed Brigadier-General Ledlie's division, immediately on the explosion of the mine to be moved forward and crown the crest known as Cemetery Hill. Brigadier-General Willcox was to move his division forward as soon as possible after General Ledlie's, bearing off to the left, and Brigadier-General Potter was to follow and go to the right. Brigadier-General Ferrero was to move his (colored) division next, and pass over the same ground that General Ledlie's did.
Five minutes after the explosion of the mine General Ledlie's division went forward and it was followed by those of Generals Willcox and Potter, though it is in evidence that the latter did not move in the prescribed order, and that they were not formed in a manner to do the duty assigned them.
General Ledlie's division, instead of complying with the order, halted in the crater made by the explosion of the mine and remained there about an hour, when Major-General Meade received the first intimation of the fact through a dispatch from Lieutenant-Colonel Loring, assistant inspector-general of the Ninth Corps, intended for General Burnside, in which he expressed the fear that the men could not be induced to advance.
This crater was on the enemy's line of works, and was 50 to 60 yards long, 20 yards wide, and 20 to 25 feet deep. It was about 500 yards from the cemetery crest.
General Burnside was then (at 5.40 a.m.) ordered to push forward to the crest all his own troops, and to call on General Ord to move forward his troops at once. It is in evidence that when the order was communicated to General Ferrero, commanding the colored division, he said he could not put in his troops until the troops already in front should be moved out of the way. They did go forward, however, after some delay, but only to be driven back and in their flight to rush impetuously against other troops, destroying their formation and producing disorder.
At 6.10 a.m., inquiry being made of General Burnside if it would be an advantage for Warren's supporting force to go in at once on the left, the answer was "there is scarcely room for it in our immediate front." The importance of the utmost promptness and the securing of the crest at once at all hazards were urged upon him 6.50 a.m.
At 7.20 a. m. General Burnside reported to General Meade that he was doing all in his power to push forward the troops, and, if possible, carry the crest and also that the main body of General Potter's division was beyond the crater. It does not appear in evidence, however,