“  heights near Captain Hamilton's, will, I hope, compel the enemy to evacuate the whole ridge between these points. He makes those moves by columns, distant from each other, with a view of avoiding the possibility of a collision of our own forces, which might occur in a genera movement during the fog.” The statements in General Burnside's letter to General Halleck, his statement in the order of the thirteenth to me, and his statement of his plan before the committee, all agree upon one point at least — that he did not mean to make his “main attack” under either of those orders. Under the orders he issued he designed seizing, first, the heights in rear of the town; next, the heights near Captain Hamilton's, which he supposed would stagger the enemy; and then, he proposed to make a “direct attack” in the enemy's front, and drive him out of his works. The orders not only agree in this, but the fact, in all the significant proportions of its results, in killed and wounded, was before the committee, that General Sumner's command did actually move to seize “those heights on the crest in rear of the town,” almost as soon as I did at that time. I had not only not taken the position at Captain Hamilton's, but was crossing troops from the other side of the river to save those who had been sent to make the attempt. General Burnside was informed of all this by General Hardie as the effort progressed. How then is it to be accounted for that General Burnside could have so far forgotten his intentions as to say, “that he did not intend making the attack on the right until that position (my position) had been taken?” If he did not intend to do so, why did he make the attack before the contingency happened? He knew that the position on the left was not taken; why then did he order General Sumner forward if his intention was to keep him back until it was taken? If he did not intend that General Sumner should move until I had taken the heights at Captain Hamilton's, what does this language in his order to me mean, “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 with the Telegraph road, where they will divide with a view of seizing the heights on both of those roads? Holding these heights with the heights near Captain Hamilton's will, he hopes, &c. He makes these moves by columns distant from each other with a view of avoiding the possibility of a collision of our own forces, which might occur in a general movement during the fog.” This is the language of a simultaneous movement; and that no doubt may be left about it, he gives as a reason why he keeps the moving columns distant from each other, that they might not encounter each other in a fog. If both columns were not to be moved at the same time, it is difficult to see how they could have collided in a fog. It is, therefore, perfectly evident that under both orders issued that morning by General Burnside, he imagined that he could seize certain heights over two miles distant from each other, with the comparatively small force of a division sufficiently supported, for each column, and that when these were taken, he expected to follow up, by orders for a main attack with the “whole command,” which I was to keep in “position for a rapid movement down the Old Richmond road.” In the execution of these orders, the enemy discovered himself in force so much greater than General Burnside anticipated, that the plan proved totally inadequate to its expected results. The disaster which followed is a matter of history, and considering the pressure to which the mind of the commanding General must have been subjected since that time, it is not difficult to find a reason why his present recollection of his plan differs so materially from the orders which he gave before the movement was made; but I submit that is an insufficient reason for visiting the consequences of the failure upon his subordinate in command. After reciting the order, the committee state that when last before them, I considered the meaning of the order to be an armed observation to ascertain where the enemy was. They then proceed as follows: “In his (Franklin's) testimony given when your committee were at Falmouth, he says, ‘I put in all the troops that I thought it prudent and proper to put in. I fought the whole strength of my command as far as I could, and at the same time keep my connection with the river open.’ ” These two statements seem to be presented under the idea that they convict me of an inconsistency, and in the report furnished by the committee to one of the newspapers, printed in pamphlet form, entitled “Tribune War tract, no. 1,” this statement of the committee is headed, in capital letters, “Franklin's inconsistent statements.” What inconsistency is there between my interpretation of the second clause of the order, that it was for an armed observation to ascertain where the enemy was, and in the statement that in sending in this armed force of observation I had ascertained where the enemy was, and had been compelled to fight the whole strength of my command as far as I could, and at the same time keep my communication with the river open, in resisting a superior force, which had discovered itself on three sides of me? But the committee, in quoting my testimony, for some reason satisfactory to themselves, have omitted to state what was testified by me in the same connection. By referring to the testimony given by me at Falmouth, (which has heretofore been made public,) I find that the words immediately following the quotation made by the committee in their present report are as follows: “The reason that we failed was, that we had not troops enough to carry the points where the attack was made, under the orders that were given.” Why the committee have omitted that part of my evidence, while from the quotation marks the reader is led to suppose the whole sentence is given, I shall not stop to inquire. The next statement in the report refers to the number of troops with which the attack was made by me, under the orders to send out “a division ”
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Doc . 62 .-Hoisting the Black flag — official correspondence and reports.
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