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74 Series I Volume XL-I Serial 80 - Richmond, Petersburg Part I

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Page 74 OPERATIONS IN SE. VA. AND N. C. Chapter LII.

Answer. That question is entirely answered by the answer to the question previously put, I will reiterate it. General Hartranft, unexpectedly to me and to the division commanders, made a move with his brigade in consequence of the receipt of the dispatch to which I have referred, and the word was passed along the line to retire, upon which all the troops came back to our lines that could get back.

Question. Where were the division commanders while the troops were in the crater?

Answer. The division commanders were at their headquarters on our old advance line, say 115 yards from the crater, moving at intervals from one point to another at that line until it was decided that the order to withdraw was final, when I sent for the division commanders to come to my headquarters to arrange for the withdrawal; soon after which I sent General Ferrero to make arrangements for digging trenches. In fact, preparations had already ben made for that purpose before the division commanders came to my headquarters. Before this work could be done the troops were driven from the crater in the manner in which I have designated.

By the COURT:

Question. How did all your troops cross from the advance line of works to the assault, by the flank or in line?

Answer. Generals Ledlie and Willcox crossed in line, Generals Potter and Ferrero by flank.

Question. Could the troops of the different divisions have been formed the night previous to the assault in lines parallel to the advance line and near it?

Answer. They were formed in that position as nearly as possible, all of the advanced division being formed exactly in that way.

Question. Was the mine placed under charge of the engineer department of the Army of the Potomac?

Answer. No, sir; it was not. In fact, two of the young engineers who reported for duty at my headquarters stated expressly that they were instructed that they had nothing to do with the mine.

Question. Were there working parties detailed to follow the assaulting troops, carrying tools, gibbons, and so forth, to crown the crest when gained?

Answer. Yes, sir; there was an engineer regiment detailed to follow each division of white troops, with all the necessary tools, and all necessary preparations were made for pioneers in the division of colored troops. There were no instructions to carry gibbons, but all these engineer regiments were fully equipped with necessary tools for intrenching if we had been successful in crowning the crest.

Question. Why did not the division commanders go to the front, particularly when the troops ceased to advance?

Answer. I do not know.

Question. Was General Hartranft in command in the crater?

Answer. He was not in command in the crater.

Question. Had you been permitted to put your corps into action according to your own views-that is, the colored division in advance-do you think the result would have been different?

Answer. For reasons already given and given before the fight, and from observation on that day, I am forced to believe that the Fourth Division (the colored division) would have made a more impetuous and successful assault than the leading division.

The receipt of orders requiring the presence elsewhere of two members of the Court caused its adjournment until it should be reconvened by the President or some other proper authority.


Page 74 OPERATIONS IN SE. VA. AND N. C. Chapter LII.

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