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[763] the passage, in the battle fought on the other side of the river with A. P. Hill's troops—a battle which would not have taken place if the passage had been effected a few hours sooner—and also because the successive attacks, made with insufficient forces, cost a larger sacrifice of life than would have been incurred in a single general attack made at the outset. It will presently be seen that Burnside, having become general-in-chief, did not have the same scruples in hurling his divisions against the formidable position of Marye's Hill. Finally, Mr. Woodbury states that Lee would not have committed the fault of stripping his right in the presence of the whole of the Ninth corps. This assertion is contradicted by the report of the Confederate general himself, who says that he had left the defence of the approaches to the bridge of the Rohrersville road to Toombs' brigade alone.


Note F, page 582.

Several writers who have sought to throw the responsibility of the defeat upon Franklin have stated that he was ordered to make a general attack upon the enemy's right, and that the attack on Marye's Hill was not to take place until after the success of this decisive movement. An examination of the documents written at the very time of the action completely disproves this assertion. We give below the entire text of Burnside's order to Franklin. The reader will judge for himself:

General Hardie will carry this despatch to you, and remain with you during the day. The general commanding directs that you keep your whole command in position for a rapid movement down the old Richmond road, and you will send out at once a division, at least, to pass below Smithfield, to seize, if possible, the heights near Captain Hamilton's on this side of the Massaponax, taking care to keep it well supported and its line of retreat open. 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 these roads. Holding these heights, with the heights near Captain Hamilton's, will, I hope, compel the enemy to evacuate the whole ridge between these points. 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 ’


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