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[6] and at last he has been vindicated by the action of Congress. This discussion, carried on with great earnestness and ability in both houses of Congress, as well as by his counsel, has attracted the attention of professional students of military history, and the examination of witnesses from both sides of the great struggle has revived and kept alive the interest in the battle as if it had been fought but yesterday. Since Waterloo, no battle, probably, has been so much studied and discussed.

This discussion would naturally have been very interesting to us, who took an active part in that battle, but our interest is greatly increased when we find that the discussion has now resulted in the question seriously asked and warmly debated: Was there a battle at all on the 29th August, 1862?

This is, indeed, a startling question to us, when we recollect that our brigade was engaged from daylight until dark, and lost over six hundred men out of fifteen hundred carried into action, including eight out of eleven field officers, and half of our company officers. But the question is asked, and is thus answered by the Board of Officers who have reviewed General Porter's case:

‘The judgment of the court-martial upon General Porter's conduct was evidently based upon greatly erroneous impressions, not only respecting what that conduct really was, and the orders under which he was acting, but also respecting all the circumstances under which he acted. Especially was this true in respect to the character of the battle of the 29th of August. That battle consisted of a number of sharp and gallant combats between small portions of the opposing forces. These combats were of short duration, and were separated by long intervals of simple skirmishing and artillery duels. Until after 6 o'clock only a small part of the troops on either side were engaged at any time during the afternoon.’

General McGowan, who made the report for our brigade after General Gregg's death, describing our position, says:1

‘Our line made an obtuse angle pointing towards the enemy, one side of which ran nearly parallel with the railroad cut, and the other along the fence bordering the cleared field before spoken of. Within these contracted lines was the little tongue of woodland, which we occupied, and which we were directed to hold at all hazards. On this spot, barely large enough to hold the brigade, we stood and fought, with intervals of cessation, from eight o'clock in the morning until dark.’

General Hill reports the three days fighting:2

1 Reports Army of Northern Virginia, volume II, page 276; Rebellion Records, volume XII, part 2, page 677.

2 Reports A. N. V., vol. II, p. 124; Rebellion Records, vol. XII, part 2, p. 669.

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