General Burnside then explained that the delay in building the bridges gave the enemy time to accumulate his forces before he was able to order the attack.
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Question. What was the conduct of the officers and men during the attack?
Answer. With the exception of a single regiment it was excellent.
Question. Will you state, as nearly as you can, the whole number of our troops that were engaged?
Answer. We had about 100,000 men on the other side of the river.
Question. What part of that number were actually engaged in battle?
Answer. Every single man of them was under artillery fire and about half of them were at different times formed in columns of attack. Every man was put in column that could be got in.
With this evidence of the general commanding the army before them, a committee of Congress, in a report submitted to the public without the testimony, deliberately state:
The testimony of all the witnesses before your committee proves most conclusively that had the attack been made upon the left with all the force that General Franklin could have used for that purpose, the plan of General Burnside would have been completely successful, and our army would have achieved a most brilliant victory.
The committee continue (still referring to the order which they say was to make a "vigorous attack with my whole force," and was sent by General Burnside upon his hearing of the small force which I had ordered to the attack):
General Franlin testifies that it was not an order, but a request, and that when he received it it was too late to renew the attack, and therefore he did not do it. General Franklin testifies as follows-
The committee then proceed to give an extract from a small portion of the testimony, in which not a word of my testimony on the subject of this request is given. My statement to them on that subject was substantially that after 3 o'clock of that day, according to my best recollection, an aide from general Burnside came to me with the message that the enemy was pressing General Sumner on the right, and that I was requested to make a diversion in his favor, if I could. I again replied that I would do the best I could. About the time that this message came, viz, at 3.40 p. m., as will be seen by referring to General Hardie's reports, that officer informed General Burnside as follows:
Gibbon's and Meade's division are badly used up, and I fear another advance on the enemy on our left cannot be made this afternoon. Doubleday's division will replace Meade's as soon as it can be collected, and if it be done in time of course another attack will be made. The enemy are in force in the woods on our left toward Hamitlon's, and are threatening the safety of that portion of our line. They seem to have detached a portion of their force to our front, where Howe and Brooks are now engaged. Brooks has some prisoners, and is down to the railroad. Just as soon as the left is safe our forces here will be prepared for a front attack, but it may be too late this afternoon. Indeed, we are engaged in front anyhow. Notwithstanding the unpleasant items I relate, the morale generally of the troops is good.
Keeping in mind the fact that the division of Howe and Brooks, which General Hardie reported to General Burnside were then actually engaged, were the two divisions upon which I had to rely to protect my right, center, and bridges, and that every other division of my command was at that moment already in support of the left, and that this dispatch of General Hardie's was a piece of the evidence before a committee supposed to be in search of the truth in regard to a subject of such magnitude as the loss of the batsburg, it seems increditable that the next paragraph of their report, following the extract