and analysis than I had ever done to any one thing before in my life.
I tried in succession every possible combination of the established facts, in the effort to find some one consistent with the theory that Porter
had been guilty of disobedience, as charged, or of any other military offense.
But I could not find one, except the very patent one that he had sent despatches to Burnside
which were by no means respectful to Pope
; and the board expressed an opinion in condemnation of that, which Porter
's counsel very frankly admitted to be just.
In the course of that long and earnest effort to find Porter
guilty,—for that is what the effort was in effect,— the whole story of his conduct and of the operations of the two opposing armies and the actions of other prominent officers became so clear, and his honorable and soldierly conduct so absolutely demonstrated, that it was exceedingly difficult, in view of all the wrong he had suffered, to write a cold judicial statement of the facts.
The first draft was toned down in many particulars in the effort to bring it within the strictest rules of judicial decisions.
I have sometimes thought since that if the report of the board could have been much colder, it might have been better at first for Porter
, though less just.
But I do not think he or any of his companions and friends will ever feel like finding fault because the board could not entirely suppress the feelings produced by their discovery of the magnitude of the wrong that had been done to a gallant fellow-soldier.
The first time I met General Grant
after the decision of the board was published was very soon after he had published in 1882 the result of his own investigation of the case.
He at once introduced the subject, and talked about it for a long time in the most earnest manner that I ever heard him speak on any subject.
He would not permit me to utter a single sentence until he had gone all over the case and showed me that he understood all