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and that a gallant soldier named Sergeant Reese, of the Forty-eighth Pennsylvania, had volunteered to go into the gallery to ascertain whether the fuse was really burning still and burning slowly, or whether it had failed. He discovered that it had failed and retired it; and Major Van Buren further said that General Potter told him that the time was to explode at a certain minute. This was, I think, within eleven minutes of the time of the explosion. I am not sure that I did not receive a similar message from an aide-de-camp to General Potter. I think I did. Within one minute of the time designated by Major Van Buren (and it was a fact which was cognizant to every one) I was not with the advance column of troops that was to make the charge. I understand that there was considerable anxiety among the men after and before the explosion as to the effect that it might have upon them, and I have been informed by Colonel Loring, my inspector-general (who may be called before this Court), who was with the column, that it took probably five minutes to get the men in perfect condition to dash forward. After their ranks were re-established, they went forward, as far as I could see or know or hear, in the most gallant possible style until they arrived within the crater. Here, owing to the inequalities of the ground, and possibly other reasons which will be matters of investigation in this Court, there was a pause, the men to a considerable extent disorganized, and it was so reported to me. I will state here, though, that I have not been able to make up my mind that any set of troops of this army or any other army that had gone through the labor that these troops had gone through for the last thirty days could be made to do better than they did upon that occasion.
I saw with me there at my headquarters Captain Sanders. I think I remarked to him that I was glad he was to be with me on that day, as he had been with me during the fight on the 18th, and had been the means of communication between General Meade and myself, and I was very much pleased that he was present with me on that morning, and I think I so expressed myself. At all events my impression was, if he did not tell me so, that he was to remain with me during the morning. The dispatches I received from General Meade, which I hope the Court will examine carefully, bore the marks of very great anxiety, such as I was at the time feeling, to learn the information which I was about the same time endeavoring to learn, and at the same time unable to give him, and I so stated to his aide-de-camp. I, of course, was glad that no movement was made-by me (as General Meade must be) in accordance with the order to attack in case the mine had failed.
from that time until the time that the troops were withdrawn I endeavored to give at all important points (I do not mean in minutia), to General Meade by telegraph and to Captain Sanders by word, all the information of which I was possessed. I, of course, was in a position in which I could examine the movements of the troops. For half an hour at a time I would be away from my headquarters. I went with General Warren once the covered way to the front. The covered way was full of troops, and there was no way of going on horseback or of carrying any number of staff officers, and from the position we were to reconnoiter it would not have been advisable to carry any number of officers to that point. The dispatches that I sent to General Meade are, I think, on record, and I think of carefully examined without reference to the numerous dispatches I received from him, it will be ascertained that at every important epoch correct and definite information, was sent to him either by Captain Sanders or myself, up to the receipt of a dispatch which was misunderstood by me, and which appears upon your record, and bears the positive certainty of insubordination for which I must be responsible and must necessarily suffer. I will state the circumstances under which the dispatch was given me. It was handed to me by Captain Jay, who came up to me and said, "General Meade desires me to say that this is for you personally, " or words to that effect, no doubt meaning that it was for my personal attention. I misunderstood the tenor of it, no doubt; read it and put in my answer, which is also on record before you.
The orders that I gave from time to time to my division commanders were principally verbal orders given through my aides-de-camp. I had with each division a responsible aide-de-camp, who was in constant communication with me, and if mistake not I did not receive from Generals Ferrero or Ledlie a single written dispatch, and but one or two each from Generals Potter and Willcox; but at the same time I received verbally frequent information of all that was going` on in order to enable me to direct the movement of my troops.
After giving orders for all the white troops to be shoved in, and sending additional orders forward, which were also reiterated by division commanders, for the troops to advance and move upon the crest in accordance with the understanding and plan of the night before, which were plain and distinct, I received from General Meade an order to put in my whole force and move for the crest at once. I had not done this because I was satisfied that there was very great difficulty attending the formation of the troops in the crater in consequence of the great number there. I have since learned that considerable progress had been made in the formation at that time. Indeed, the troops were progressing to the right and left-and to my knowledge had driven the enemy-General Potter to the right and General Willcox to the left.
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