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IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES, March 2, 1863. Resolved, by the Senate of the United States, (the House of Representatives concurring,) That in order to enable the “ Joint Committee on the Conduct of the War" to complete their investigations of certain important matters now before them, and which they have not been able to complete, by reason of inability to obtain important witnesses, be authorized to continue their sessions for thirty days after the close of the present Congress, and to place their testimony and reports in the hands of the Secretary of the Senate.

Resolved, further, That the Secretary of the Senate is hereby directed to cause to be printed, of the reports and accompanying testimony of the Committee on the Conduct of the War, 5,000 copies for the use of the Senate, and 10,000 copies for the use of the House of Representatives. Attest:

J. W. FORNEY, Secretary.

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, March 2, 1863. Resolved, That the House concur in the foregoing resolutions of the Senate to continue the sessions of the Joint Committee on the Conduct of the War" for thirty days, and to direct the Secretary of the Senate to cause the printing of the reports, &c., with the following amendment : insert at the end the words : "of the present Congress." Attest :


IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES, March 2, 1863, Resolved, That the Senate concur in the foregoing amendment of the House of Representatives to said resolution. Attest :

J. W. FORNEY, Secretary.

APRIL 6, 1863. Mr. WADE, from the Joint Committee on the Conduct of the War, in accordance with the preceding resolution, placed in the hands of the Secretary of the Senate the follow. ing report in three parts.






The joint committee on the conduct of the war submit the following report,

with the accompanying testimony:


In December, 1861, a joint committee of the two houses of Congress, consisting of three members of the Senate and four members of the House of Representatives, was appointed, with instructions to inquire into the conduct of the present war.

Your committee proceeded to the discharge of the duty devolved upon them, and have labored zealously and, they trust, faithfully for that purpose. As evidence of that, they would refer to the large mass of testimony taken by them upon many subjects and herewith reported.

The subject of inquiry referred to them was one of the utmost importance and magnitude. Upon the conduct of the present war” depended the issue of the experiment inaugurated by our fathers, after so much expenditure of blood and treasure—the establishment of a nation founded upon the capacity of man for self-government. The nation was engaged in a contest for its very existence; a rebellion, unparalleled in history, threatened the overthrow of our free institutions, and the most prompt and vigorous measures were demanded by every consideration of honor, patriotism, and a due regard for the prosperity and happiness of the people.

Your committee could perceive no necessity for recommending any particular legislation to Congress. Its previous course showed that no such recommendation was required. When Congress met the preceding July, fresh from the people-called upon to provide for the safety of the government and the maintenance of the national honor and existence—the representatives of the people gare full evidence that they comprehended the duty devolved upon them, and had the courage and will to fully discharge it. The administration called by the people to the head of the government, in this the most critical period of the nation's history, was more promptly and fully supported than that of any other government of which history has preserved any record. The call of the President for money and men had been more than complied with ; no legislation which he had deemed necessary had been denied by Congress, and the ch


people had most nobly and generously supported and sustained what their representatives had promised in their name. The same Congress, fresh from their constituents, had again met, and there could be no doubt that as they had before acted so would they continue to act. It needs but to refer to the history of the Congress just closed, its prompt and thorough action, clothing the executive with the fullest power, placing at his disposal all the resources of men and money which this nation possessed, to prove that your committee judged rightly that Congress needed no prompting from them to do its entire duty.

Not upon those whose duty it was to provide the means necessary to put down the rebellion, but upon those whose duty it was to rightfully apply those means, and the agents they employed for that purpose, rested the blame, if any, that the hopes of the nation have not been realized, and its expectations have been so long disappointed.

Your committee therefore concluded that they would best perform their duty by endeavoring to obtain such information in respect to the conduct of the war as would best enable them to advise what mistakes had been made in the past and the proper course to be pursued in the future ; to obtain such information as the many and laborious duties of the President and his cabinet prevented them from acquiring, and to lay it before them with such recommendations and suggestions as seemed to be most imperatively demanded; and the journal of the proceedings of your committee show that, for a long time, they were in constant communication with the President and his cabinet, and neglected no opportunity of at once laying before them the information acquired by them in the course of their investigations.

Many specific subjects of investigation presented themselves for the consideration of your committee, any one of which might well require the action of a committee for itself; and all of which, if fully investigated, would demand the attention of all the representatives in Congress. It was apparent from the first that your committee would be compelled to confine their attention to a few of the more prominent subjects of inquiry: to those the investigation of which would best enable them to comprehend the causes and necessity, if any, for the delay and inaction characterizing the operations of our armies in the field.

And while each of those subjects has received from them the attention which its importance merited, so far as they were able to give it, the attention of your committee has been turned more particularly to the history of the army of the Potomac. In the history of that army is to be found all that is necessary to enable your committee to report upon the conduct of the war.” Had that army fulfilled all that a generous and confiding people were justified in expecting from it, this rebellion had long since been crushed, and the blessings of peace restored to this nation. The failure of that army to fulfil those expectations has prolonged this contest to the present time, with all its expenditure of life and treasure, for it has to a great extent neutralized, if not entirely destroyed, the legitimate fruits which would otherwise have been reaped from our glorious victories in the west.

Therefore, while your committee have not failed to take the testimony of witnesses in relation to military operations in other parts of the country, and also upon various subjects to which their attention has been specially directed by Congress and the War Department since the committee was first appointed, the principal part of the testimony taken by them relates to the army of the Potomac and those subjects more immediately connected with its operations. They have taken the testimony of nearly 200 witnesses, almost entirely men in the military service of the

government, including about 100 generals. The disaster at Bull Run in July, 1861, was fully investigated by your committee, as being the first conflict of the national troops with armed treason upon the field of battle; and also because the troops there engaged formed the nucleus around which has since been collected the vast and magnificent army

army of

of the Potomac. The result of their investigation your committee submit in a separate report.

Your committee have also investigated the disaster at Ball's Bluff, that battle being the first conflict of any extent in which any of the troops of the the Potomac were engaged after its reorganization. A separate report of that disaster is also submitted.

Immediately upon the organization of your committee, and before proceeding to the taking of any testimony, they addressed to General McClellan, who, by the retirement of General Scott, had become general-in-chief of the army, the following communication :

“WASHINGTON, D. C., December 21, 1861. “Sir: You are aware that a joint committee has been appointed by the Senate and House of Representatives to inquire into the conduct of the war.' Our committee, at a meeting held this morning, unanimously expressed a desire, before proceeding in their official duties, have an interview with you at our room at the Capitol, at such time as may suit your convenience, in view of your pressing engagements.

“Our place of meeting is the room of the Committee on Territories of the Senate. “I remain, very respectfully, yours,

“B. F. WADE, Chairman. “Major General Geo. B. MCCLELLAN,

General Commanding Army United States."

While fully appreciating the dignity and power with which they were clothed by the concurrent action of both houses of Congress, they deemed it but just to award to his position the consideration of asking him to confer with them in relation to the best method of fulfilling those expectations which the people had a right to hope for from an administration upon which they had, through their representatives, conferred such plenary powers. A reference to the journal of your committee will show that ill health prevented General McClellan from immediately complying with this invitation. The necessities of the case, however, were so pressing and urgent that your committee concluded to proceed at once to the taking of testimony.


Soon after the battle of Bull Run, in July, 1861, General McDowell was superseded, and General McClellan was called by the President to the command of the army of the Potomac. The campaign in Western Virginia, the credit of which had been generally ascribed to General McClellan; the favor with which it was understood he was regarded by General Scott, then generalin-chief of the army of the United States; even his comparative youth, holding out the promise of active and rigorous measures; all these considerations tended to infuse hope into the public mind, and to remove the gloom and despondency which had followed the disastrous issue of the campaign just ended.

Every energy of the government and all the resources of a generous and patriotic people were freely and lavishly placed at the disposal of General McCiellan to enable him to gather together another army and put it in the most complete state of efficiency, so that offensive operations might be resumed at the earliest practicable moment. The army of the Potomac became the object of special care to every department of the government, and all other military movements and organizations were made subordinate to the one great purpose of collecting at Washington, and organizing there, an army which should overpower the forces of the enemy, and forever crush out any hope of success which the

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