fusion, and they retired in disorder through the troops in the crater and back into our lines. In the mean time, in ignorance of what was occurring, I sent orders to Major-General Ord, commanding Eighteenth Corps, who was expected to follow the Ninth, to advance at once on the right of the Ninth and independently of the latter. To this General Ord replied the only debouches were choked up with the Ninth Corps,which had not all advanced at this time. He, however, pushed a brigade of Turner's division over the Ninth Corps' parapets, and directed it to charge the enemy's line on the right, where it was still occupied. While it was about executing this order the disorganized Fourth Division (colored) of the Ninth Corps came rushing back and carrying everything with them, including Turner's brigade. By this time, between 8 and 9 a.m., the enemy, seeing the hesitation and confusion on our part, having planted batteries on both flanks in ravines where our artillery could not reach them, opened a heavy fire not only on the ground in front of the crater but between it and our lines, their mortars at the same time throwing shells into the dense mass of our men it the crater and adjacent works. In addition to this artillery fire, the enemy massed his infantry and assaulted the position. Although the assault was repulsed and some heroic fighting was done, particularly on the part of Potter's division and some regiments of the Eighteenth Corps, yet the exhaustion incident to the crowding of the men and the intense heat of the weather, added to the destructive artillery fire of the enemy, produced its effect, and report was brought to me that our men were retiring into our old lines. Being satisfied that the moment for success had passed, and that any further attempts would only result in useless sacrifice of life, with the concurrence of the lieutenant-general commanding, who was present, I directed the suspension of further offensive movements, and the withdrawal of the troops in the crater when it could be done with security, retaining the position till night, if necessary. It appears that when this order reached the crater (12.20) the greater portion of those that had been in were out; the balance remained for an hour and a half, repulsing an attack of the enemy, but on the enemy's threatening a second attack, retreated in disorder, losing many prisoners. This terminated this most unfortunate and not very creditable operation. I forbear to comment in the manner I might otherwise deem myself justified in doing, because the whole subject, at my request, has been submitted for investigation by the President of the United States to a court of inquiry, with directions to report upon whom, if any one, censure is to be laid.
I transmit herewith the reports of corps, division, and brigade commanders, giving the details of the operations of each corps.
There are two remarks in the report of Major-General Burnside which justice to myself requires I should notice. General Burnside has thought proper to state-
A plan of attack was submitted involving the putting the colored division in advance, and a certain formation of troops, and that this plan was disapproved in these two particulars.
This statement is not accurate. The proposition to place the colored division at the head of the assaulting column was disapproved, but no control was exercised over General Burnside in the tactical formation of his columns. This will be seen by reference to the correspondence that passed upon the subject, marked B and C.*
*Here omitted. They appear as Appendixes L and M, pp. 136, 137.