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place, and make that the line of the pickets, as General Burnside had ordered. General Burnside said that if we came back to the ditch I have spoken of, it would be a falling back of our army. I put General Sykes's division on picket duty. That day, wbile the men were lying there on their bellies, my loss, in General Sykes's coinmand, was two hundred and four men, and my men were where they could inflict little or no injury on the enemy. Had the enemy occupied the ditch, there might have been a half dozen casuualties during the day.

That night, after seeing General Burnside, I returned to Fredericksburg, and took command of the forces there. I placed General Butterfield in the upper end of the town, so that he could defend it in case of an attack by the enemy. At the south end of the town I placed General Couch. I requested of General Burnside that all of the troops over there, but two divisions, might be withdrawn to this side of the river, because, if the enemy should throw a shell into the city, it could not fall amiss with all those troops there.

Many of the troops were in such a condition that they gave me no additional strength. It has been reported through rebel sources that great dissatisfaction is felt at our not having him shelled while our troops were in the city. And I have heard that courts-martial are now being held among the confederates to examine into that matter; and that at one time they were actually heating shot in their furnaces to throw into the city while we were there.

We remained there until Monday night and Tuesday morning, when orders were issued, first, for General Sumner's command to be withdrawn; and afterwards, between three and four o'clock in the morning, for my own command to be withdrawn.

I ought to say here that the morning after we had made our attack, orders were issued for another attack to be made in the same place. But the officers who had already been engaged demurred to it, and the order was not carried into execution.

Question. Had you made any impression, in the meantime, upon their works?

Answer. Not the slightest; no more than you could make upon the side of a mountain of rock. On the day following the attack another council of war was held, and the question was submitted, how that place could be taken ? When I think of it, the council was held on Monday, if I am not mistaken. It was composed of the generals commanding the grand divisions—all but General Franklin, who said he could not leave town, as he was expecting an attack-and some of the corps commanders. The opinion of most of the council was, that the place could not be taken at all. My own opinion was that, if there was any chance to take the place, it was by forming a heavy column of attack at night, when the enemy could not see to use their artillery.

By Mr. Chandler: Question. What was there to prevent flanking them on our right, beyond their batteries ?

Answer. Water-a lake and a mill-race, which was reported to me to be impassable.

By the chairman: Question. Was the strength of their position such as could be ascertained from this side of the river, before making the attack?

Answer. Yes, sir. We had precise information of their position from the well informed German prisoner I have before spoken of, who told us where their batteries were, of the ditches and the stone wall; and the officers who made the attack in the forepart of the day told me the same thing before I made my attack; and the troops massed behind had been seen from the balloon. But if I was ordered to make the attack, I was perfectly willing to make it; for it made no difference what became of me. I made the attack, and such an attack as I believe has never before been made in this war.

Question. What is the length of that stone wall ?

Answer. I should think it was some 500 or 600 yards; and rifle-pits were continued all along, amounting to almost the same thing. This wall appears to be not simply a plain stone wall, but a support wall. Behind the wall were rifle-pits, and there was earth between the rifle-pits and the wall. To batter down that wall was like battering the masonry of a fortification. I thought at first that I could knock the wall to pieces, and drive the rebels from behind it. My batteries were served as gallantly as batteries could be served. They fired just as well as batteries could be fired. But their fire made no impression at all. I do not think one rebel ran from behind the wall, or from the rifle-pits. All I wanted to do was to make one hole through the wall, and I brought to bear all I could to do that.

Question. What prevented crossing the whole force at the upper fords, some twelve miles from here—crossing the river there, and getting into the enemy's rear ?

Answer. I do not know that anything prevented it, except that whenever a move of that sort should be attempted, the eneny would know of it as soon as we commenced it, and the fords there are of sueh a character that a few hours' work with so many men as they have would make those places very formidable. But I think that that would have been a much better move than either of the others were. I have not seen the works down below here. But it has always been my impression that Franklin, who was down there with men, his own grand division, and of mine, could have swept everything before him. He represented the position down there as very

formidable. But I have no idea, although I have never seen it, but that men could have carried everything down there. I do not know the fact, but I have understood that a large portion of Franklin's force was not engaged at all.

Question. After the fight, what prevented the enemy crowding you into the river, if they had made an attack ?

Answer. All that I had there to prevent it was this one division of 4,000 men that had not been engaged, and another division of mine in the upper end of the town that had been sent there to relieve General Howard's divi. sion. I had full confidence in those two divisions, because they had not been engaged.

Question. What was the number, all together, of our forces that were engaged ? Answer. I should think there must have been between

and men under fire.

Question. What was the number of the whole army that we had across the river ? Answer. Franklin had nearly

I should think that we must have had altogether over the river well on to

Question. What is your estimate of the rebel forces over there?

Answer. I think they had about 80,000 men. The German prisoner said that they claimed to have a bundred thousand men. Once in that position they are a great deal stronger to resist than we are to attack. field, in my opinion, they would not be a match for us if our army was in good condition.

Question. How did the men behave during the attack?
Answer. They behaved well. There never was anything more glorious

men.

men.

In an open

than the behavior of the men. No campaign in the world ever saw a more gallant advance than Humphrey's men made there. But they were put to do a work that no men could do.

Question. What do you know about the delay in making the attack after the army arrived here?

Answer. There was a delay in the arrival of the pontoons; and there was also a delay in getting the provisions up here.

Question. Do you know at what time the pontoons were expected to be here?

Answer. As I have before stated, I heard General Meigs, or General Halleck, assure General Burnside that they would be here in three days.

Question. Would that have been as soon as the army could have arrived here?

Answer. That would have been just as soon as the army could march here. They got ready fully as soon as I thought they could. When we had possession here before, the government built a valuable wharf which would have answered every purpose to land stores for an army of 100,000 or 200,000 men. But when the army left here that wharf was burned, although the enemy had no vessels on the river, and the wharf could not have been used by them. I knew at Warrenton that a transfer of the line of operations of this army could not be made in three days, or in three times three days. There were wharves to be built before the stores could be landed, for even if the stores were brought here they could not be landed until the wharf was built, except it was done by lighters. Then there were bridges to be built. I think it must have been ten days after I got here before the bridge over Potomac creek was built.

Question. Had this wharf been burned when the conversation between General Halleck and General Burnside took place? Answer. It was burned long before that..

By Mr. Gooch: Question. From the conversation to which you have referred, who did you understand was responsible for having the pontoons and the other necessary supplies for the army sent here?

Answer. I supposed that was the quartermaster's business.

Question. As the matter was left at the time of the conversation, did you understand that the responsibility of having the pontoons and supplies here rested upon General Burnside, or upon General Halleck and General Meigs?

Answer. I think it necessarily rested upon General Halleck and General Meigs, because it was beyond the control of General Burnside, who was not where he could control it.

Question. Then, as I understand you, General Burnside, from that interview, had a right to expect the pontoons and supplies here as soon as he could reach here himself ? Answer. That impression was left on my mind.

By the chairman:
Question. If they had been here, what would have been the result ?

Answer. When Sumner's advance column reached here there were only some 500 of the rebels in Fredericksburg. I do not know why they did not take possession of Fredericksburg. But the feeling seemed to be that they could take possession of Fredericksburg at any time; only a few days before, Lieutenant Dahlgren, of the cavalry, with fifty-five men, crossed the river and took possession of the town. When I was at Hartwood I heard that there was going to be a delay of three or four days in getting the pontoons here, and that was one reason why I asked permission of General Burnside

men.

to cross at the ford there, and come down on the other side of the river. When we got here we should have been in a condition to march right forward without stopping a day anywhere. But the same mistake was made here that has been made all along through this war. I think it would have been better to have held the line where we were, by retaining a sufficient force there to threaten the enemy and keep them up to their works at Culpeper and Gordonsville. But instead of that we withdrew every man, and even burned the bridges, thus exposing our plan to the enemy the very moment we did so. If General Sumner's corps had come down here and left me up there threatening to advance on that line, or had them to believe that we were going to advance on both lines, it would have been better. But the enemy saw at once what we were at, and came right down here, and they were nearer here than we were; and this country is such that wherever you give them two or three weeks to fortify, 100,000 men can make any place impregnable to any other 100,000 men.

By Mr. Gooch:
Question. What was the strength of your command at Hartwood ?
Answer. It was

Question. Would there have been any difficulty as to supplies in your moving down the other side of the river, as you proposed ?

Answer. I had three days' rations then; I was preparing to march down through Caroline county, where the people had just gathered their crops,

, and I could have got plenty of forage and provisions enough for a week or a fortnight. At the time of the conversation between General Halleck, General Meigs, and General Burnside, there was some talk of forwarding some supplies up the Rappahannock. I said that at Bowling Green I could draw my supplies from Port Royal as easily as I could get them when I was at Hartwood. I knew that I could take a position with 40,000 men that the whole rebel army could not move me from.

Question. Would that movement have been a safe one in view of the fact that this army had not the means of crossing here?

Answer. Yes, sir; because I could take the heights there with my command, and put them in a condition of defence. If I had gone there not a man of the enemy would have come to Fredericksburg, but they would have gone to some other river and fortified there, if we had given them time, as effectually as they have here. I regard the rebel position on the Rappahannock as a strong one; I mean the one they retired to from Manassas. They had the advantage of two railroads-one to bring their supplies to them from the west, and the railroad from Richmond to bring their troops up from there. It is the strongest position they had in Virginia. The advantages of this position, to hold against a force seeking to cross the river and attack it, are such as I have never before seen.

Question. How far apart are the bridges at the two points where our army crossed here?

Answer. About four miles. Question. You speak of the telegraph road; will you state more definitely what that road is ?

Answer. The telegraph road leaves Fredericksburg from Hanover street, and runs through a depression in the hills in the direction of Bowling Green.

Question. How do you explain the fact that the enemy did not shell the city when our troops were crossed there? Answer. I cannot explain it. It is inexplicable to me that they did not

As I have before stated, it is reported under flag of truce that they had at one time shot heating with which to fire the city, and that would have made a terrible time of it.

do so.

Question. Was our recrossing made unbeknown to the enemy?

Answer. I think it was here; how it was down below I cannot say. It was late when I got the order to withdraw my command—between three and four o'clock in the morning-and it was between eight and nine o'clock when the last troops were withdrawn. The enemy did not seem to realize but that there were troops in the houses. I withdrew my exterior line of pickets last of all, and they were not followed by the enemy.

Question. Had they discovered that our troops were to be recrossed, what could they have done?

Auswer. I do not think we should have suffered much from their artillery fire un such a night as that was, as it would have been but random firing.

Monday, December 22, 1862. Major General Henry W. HALLECK sworn and examined.

By the chairman : Question. By a resolution of the Senate we are instructed to inquire into the recent assault on Fredericksburg, and the reasons for the delay in attacking the enemy's works. There seems to be a misunderstanding as to whose duty it was to furnish the pontoon boats. It appeared to be material that they should have been there at the same time that the army got there. The army got there first, and the pontoons did not get there till some time afterwards, through mistake or delay. That is a matter of inquiry. State, in your own way, anything you think material which will throw light upon the subject of our inquiry, and especially as to the delay.

Answer. I will state that all the troops in Washington and its vicinity were under the command of General McClellan when he was relieved, and he issued his orders directly to the commanding officer of Washington, with one single restriction, that no troops should be moved from the command of Washington until I was notified by General McClellan or the commanding officer here. In all other respects they were all under his direction. General Burnside, when he relieved him, was told that they remained precisely the same as before. On my visit to General Burnside at Warrenton, on the 12th of November, in speaking about the boats and things that he required from here, I repeated to him that they were all subject to his orders, with that single exception. To prevent the necessity of the commanding officer here reporting the order for the boats here, the order was drawn up upon his table and signed by me directly to General Woodbury, on the evening of the 12th, I think, the evening that I was there. I saw General Woodbury on my return, and he told me he had received the order. I told him that in all these matters he was under General Burnside's direction; I had nothing further to give him, except to communicate that order to him. In conversation with him and General Meigs, it was proposed that the train of pontoons should go down by land, as they could be gotten down sooner in that way, without interfering with the supplies which had to be sent to Aquia creek. I gave no other order or direction in relation to the matter than that All other matters were under General Burnside's direction. He also informed me while at Warrenton, that Captain Duane, chief of the engineers, had already sent an order to Harper's Ferry for the pontoon train there to go down. The order had been issued. They being under General Burnside's immediate and direct command, I did not interfere at all in relation to them.

Question. Do you know whether there was any delay in starting them, or in their progress there?

Rep. Com. 108-43

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