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[164] committee have made reference in their report, was directed to be issued by General Burnside. The committee state that this order dismissed some officers from the service, subject to the approval of the President, and relieved others from duty with the Army of the Potomac; that General Burnside asked the President to sanction the order, or accept his resignation as Major-General; that the President acknowledged that General Burnside was right, but declined to decide without consulting with some of his advisers. As I was relieved from duty with the Army of the Potomac almost immediately after this interview with the President, I shall assume that I was one of the officers thus relieved in the order; an assumption I could not make from any evidence derived from General Burnside's conduct to me when we were together, but which I am compelled to make, because I have been so informed by two gentlemen of high character, who have seen and read the order.

It further appears from the report, that the committee had that order before them; and as they have seen fit to visit upon me solely the responsibility for the loss of the battle of Fredericksburg, without referring in any manner to the repulse on the right, or stating its fearful loss in killed and wounded, I feel at liberty to state, on the authority of these same gentlemen who have seen Order No. 8, that under that order General Hooker was one of the officers dismissed from service, subject to the approval of the President. If, therefore, that order is invoked as a record of conviction, and, by it, General Hooker is dismissed while I am only relieved, I have the right to state the fact, and leave the public to judge of the motives of the committee — it stating that they have not considered it essential to report upon the operations of the right wing in this battle. Not only so, but I have a right to challenge the verity of the statement “that the President acknowledged General Burnside was right,” when it was known to the committee that in the same order in which the President relieved General Burnside from the command of the Army of the Potomac, he made General Hooker his successor.

But I shall not accept it as conclusive against my conduct, that General Burnside did recommend that I should be relieved. It is a part of the history of the times that after the failure of his attempt upon the rebel army behind the heights of Fredericksburg, he addressed a letter to General Halleck, relieving the Secretary of War and the General-in-Chief from all responsibility for that movement; and it is equally true, though not so publicly known, that shortly after that letter was published, General Burnside made quite as formal and earnest a request to the President to remove the Secretary of War and the General-in-Chief from the positions severally occupied by them, as he did to dismiss certain of his officers in the Army of the Potomac. If it was true that the movement was his own, it was but an act of common justice to assume its responsibility.

Without intending to reflect upon that kind of magnanimity that takes the responsibility of a failure from the shoulders of those above us, and places it upon those below us, I will prove, by documentary evidence from General Burnside's hand, that his plan, as given to the committee, was not the plan on which he conducted the operations of the battle.

The committee have printed General Burnside's plan of attack as given by him. By the side of this, I print an extract from the letter of General Burnside to General Halleck, dated December nineteenth, six days after the battle, by which it appears that he intended to make his “vigorous attack,” as he there calls it, over two miles from my front and upon the heights in the rear of the town of Fredericksburg, and that part of his order to me in which he informed me of the orders which he had given to General Sumner, showing that General Sumner's movement was to be simultaneous with mine. In this he states the measures taken to avoid a collision between General Sumner's forces and mine, while in the plan before the committee he is represented as testifying that he did not mean that General Sumner should move until I had taken the position designated in the order.

General Burnside's Plan of Attack, as given by the Committee.

“The enemy had cut a road along in the rear of the line of heights where we made our attack, by means of which they connected the two wings of their army, and avoided a long detour around through a bad country. I obtained from a colored man, from the other side of the town, information in regard to this new road, which proved to be correct. I Wanted to obtain possession of that new road, and that was my reason for making an attack on the extreme left. I did not intend to make the attack on the right until that position had been taken, which I supposed would stagger the enemy, cutting their line in two; and then I proposed to make a direct attack on their front and drive them out of their works.”

General Burnside's Plan of Attack, in his Letter to General Halleck.

“I discovered that he did not anticipate the crossing of our whole force at Fredericksburg, and I hoped, by rapidly throwing the whole command over at that place to separate, by a vigorous attack, the forces of the enemy on the river below from the forces behind and on the crest in the rear of the town, in which case we could fight him with great advantage in our favor. For this we had to gain a height on the extreme right of the crest which commanded a new road lately made by the enemy,” &c.

Extract from General Burnside's Order to me, informing me of General Sumner's Orders.

“ He has ordered another column of a division or more to be moved from General Sumner's command up the Plank road to its intersection of the Telegraph road, where they will divide, with a view to seizing the heights on both of those roads. Holding these heights, with the ”

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