Today in History:

91 Series I Volume XII-I Serial 15 - Second Manassas Part I


Major General GEORGE B. McCLELLAN, U. S. Army, as witness, was duly sworn.

Question by General McDOWELL. I desire General McClellan to in form the court as fully and as distinctly as he can on the following heads:

First. As to General McDowell's conduct whilst in command of a division in the Army of the Potomac. Third. As to General McDowell's conduct so far as it bore on his plans and operations whilst he was in command of the Department of the Rappahannock.

Answer. In regard to the first question, the conduct of General McDowell, so far as he was a division commander, was entirely satisfactory. His division was in an excellent condition and all that I could wish. While the general was in command of the First Army Corps, prior to the movements on the Peninsula, I received the fullest co-operation at his hands in preparing the plans and arranging for the movement generally. In fact he frequently, at my request,went beyond his strict duties as a corps commander to facilitate preparations. I don't know that I can make it more full, but I wish to impress the idea that I received from General McDowell's hand the fullest co-operation in the preparations for the Peninsula Campaign. I know nothing personally of General McDowell's conduct while in the Department of the Department of the Rappahannock, except that I received two telegrams from him, abut the 20th of May, I think; the first informing me that by certain date he would move to my assistance; the other that some unlooked-for circumstance had caused a delay of a few days in his preparation. I do not know officially, but have every reason to be morally certain that the cause of his failure to advance to my assistance was due to circumstances beyond his control.

Question by General McDOWELL. Do you remember if the regiments assigned to constitute General McDowell's division were especially designated or were they taken indiscriminately and with reference to their station at the time?

Answer. My recollection is that they were selected with reference to their stations, being in the vicinity of Arlington, with some few changes subsequently made for particular reasons.

Question by General McDOWELL. How did this division compare in discipline, drill, and efficiency with your other divisions?

Answer. Very favorably. I might add to that, so much so that upon one occasion a general order was issued complimentary to the division.

Question by General McDOWELL. Was there a second occasion when the hard labor done by this division on the outworks on the Virginia side attracted your especial attention?

Answer. In the construction of the works in the vicinity of Upton's Hill my attention was drawn to the remarkable rapidity with which troops of this division completed the works.

Question by General McDOWELL. Do you know personally or by report whether General McDowell took unusual pains in the drill of his division as a division (i. e., the entire body drilled together in the same field) when it was under your command?

Answer. I think he did. I think he paid more attention to the division drill than some other commanders. I think there were no division commanders who paid more attention to it.

Question by General McDOWELL. Whilst he was under your command was General McDowell ever intrusted by you with the handling on the same field of all the divisions on the Virginia side of the Poto-