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Logan, John Alexander 1826-1886

Statesman; born in Jackson county, Ill., Feb. 9, 1826; received a common school education; served in the Mexican War, rising from the rank of private to that of lieutenant and quartermaster. He was admitted to the practice of law in 1852; was in the Illinois legislature, and in Congress from 1859 to 1862. He was a private in a

John Alexander Logan.

Michigan regiment at the battle of Bull Run (July, 1861); returned to Illinois and raised the 31st Illinois Infantry, of which he was commissioned colonel; was wounded at Fort Donelson; and the following month (March, 1862) was made a brigadier-general. In April of the same year he was promoted to major-general, and commanded a division in the Vicksburg and Atlanta campaigns (1863-64). He was one of the most successful volunteer generals. He was again elected to Congress in 1866 and remained in the House till March 4, 1871, when he entered the Senate, having been elected to succeed Richard Yates. At the expiration of this term in 1877 he was defeated for reelection; but in 1879 he was a successful candidate, and held this seat by re-election in 1885 till his death. In 1884 he was the Republican candidate for Vice-President of the United States on the unsuccessful ticket headed by James G. Blaine. He died in Washington, D. C., Dec. 26, 1886.

General Logan was an aggressive and effective speaker, and during his service in the United States Senate his voice was heard discussing fearlessly all important measures. Between 1867 and the beginning of 1886, his most notable speeches, in the House and Senate were on Reconstruction; The impeachment of President Johnson; Principles of the Democratic party; Vindication of President Grant against the attack of Charles Sumner; The Ku-Klux in Louisiana; The equalization of bounties, etc.; The power of the government to enforce the United States laws; and the one declaring his belief that Gen. Fitz-John Porter had been justly condemned.

The case of Fitz-John Porter.

Under the title of Grant, Ulysses Simpson (q. v.), is given General Grant's conclusions on the celebrated case of General Porter after a re-examination of the facts bearing on it. General Logan, who had opposed in the Senate the bill to restore General Porter to the army, made the following reply to General Grant:

I dislike very much to enter into any discussion with General Grant on matters pertaining to military movements, as I must do so knowing I am contesting ground with a man of great military renown. But inasmuch as General Grant has so recently changed his opinion on this subject, after having the case before him when general of the army and during eight years while President of the United States, based upon Porter's own statement of the case, and after careful examination of the case concluded that he was guilty, and having more than once impressed his then opinion upon my mind, which very strongly confirmed me in my own conclusions of Porter's guilt, therefore, I take it that the general's generosity will be sufficient to pardon me if I shall now differ with him and trust my own judgment in the case, instead of accepting his present conclusions—especially when I feel confident that I can clearly demonstrate that his present opinions are based upon a misapprehension of the facts as they did exist and were understood by those understanding them at the time.

But that there may be a proper understanding of the question in dispute, it may be necessary to understand something [455] in reference to the positions occupied by the opposing forces. General Pope, being in command of the Army of Virginia, had withdrawn from his former line of operations, and had begun his movements against Jackson on the evening of the day on which he sent the first order to Fitz-John Porter.

General Hooker's division of Heintzelman's corps having moved along the railroad from Warrenton Junction towards Manassas Junction, meeting Ewell's division of Jackson's force at Bristoe Station in the evening, a sharp engagement ensued, in which Hooker drove Ewell in the direction of Manassas Junction.

General Pope's headquarters were with this division. In his rear, at Warrenton Junction, was Porter's command (the 5th Army Corps). Anticipating an attack from the Confederate forces on the morning of the 28th, Hooker's command being out of ammunition at the time, and in order that he might be prepared for this attack, and also that he might have his troops up and well in hand—inasmuch as he desired to send a portion of his forces in the direction of Gainesville and on to Thoroughfare Gap, so as to impede the advance of Longstreet, who was then marching rapidly to join Jackson—Pope issued the following imperative order to General Porter at 6.30 P. M., and sent the same by Capt. Drake De Kay, one of his (Pope's) staff officers.

The order is in the following language:

Headquarters Army of Virginia, Bristoe Station, Aug. 27, 1862—6.30 P. M.
General,—The major-general commanding directs that you start at one o'clock tonight, and come forward with your whole corps, or such part of it as is with you, so as to be here by daylight to-morrow morning. Hooker has had a very severe action with the enemy, with a loss of about 300 killed and wounded. The enemy has been driven back, but is retiring along the railroad. We must drive him from Manassas, and clear the country between that place and Gainesville, where McDowell is. If Morell has not joined you, send word to him to push forward immediately; also send word to Banks to hurry forward with all speed to take your place at Warrenton Junction. It is necessary, on all accounts, that you should be here by daylight. I send an officer with this despatch who will conduct you to this place. Be sure to send word to Banks, who is on the road from Fayetteville, probably in the direction of Bealeton. Say to Banks, also, that he had best run back the railroad trains to this side of Cedar Run. If he is not with you, write him to that effect.

By command of Major-General Pope. George D. Ruggles, Colonel and Chief of Staff. Maj.-Gen. F.-J. Porter, Warrenton Junction.
P. S.—If Banks is not at Warrenton Junction, leave a regiment of infantry and two pieces of artillery as a guard till he comes up, with instructions to follow you immediately. If Banks is not at the Junction, instruct Colonel Cleary to run the trains back to this side of Cedar Run, and post a regiment and section of artillery with it.

By command of Major-General Pope. George D. Ruggles, Colonel and Chief of Staff.

When this order was delivered Capt. Drake De Kay was instructed to remain with Porter and direct him on the road to Bristoe Station, a distance of about 9 miles. This order was delivered to General Porter (as Capt. Drake De Kay testifies) at about 9.30 P. M. General Porter decided not to move at one o'clock, as directed, but at three o'clock on the morning of the 28th; but, in fact, did not move from his tent, as the evidence shows, or move his troops, until after sunrise on the morning of the 28th. General Grant justifies Porter in the disobedience of this order, because, he says, Porter's troops had been marching that day, were fatigued, the night was dark, the road was blockaded, and that he showed his order to the leading generals, and because they said his troops were tired he did not obey the order.

General Grant further says:

He (meaning Porter) was entirely justified in exercising his own judgment in the matter, because the order shows that he was not to take part in any battle when he arrived there, but was to pursue a fleeing enemy. He did not leave the commanding general in ignorance of his proposed delay, nor of the reasons for it, but at once sent a request that the general commanding should send back cavalry and clear the road near him of encumbrances, so that the march might be unobstructed.

General Grant also says that “a literal obedience to the order of Aug. 27 was a physical impossibility. It is further shown that General Porter was desirous of obeying it literally so far as it was practicable, [456] but was prevailed upon by his leading generals not to do so.”

General Grant also says: “If the night had been clear, and the road an open one, there would not have been so much justification,” and, continuing, he describes the road as being in a “terrible condition—almost impassable.”

I am very much surprised at this statement of General Grant's, inasmuch as he goes far beyond the evidence in the case to justify the disobedience of said order by Porter.

The evidence in the case shows that a great portion of Porter's troops had been in camp at Warrenton Junction from 11 o'clock in the morning, where they had been resting during the whole day. The evidence does not show that the generals could not obey the order, but that they only complained that the troops were tired and fatigued. This, General Grant knows, as a military man, is an excuse common in any army, that troops are fatigued when they are ordered to march either in the night or at any other time when they desire to rest. And he knows, further, that it is not an excuse justified by any one in time of necessity when an order can be obeyed.

General Grant says that Porter wanted to obey the order, because he sent two men to General Pope, a distance of 9 miles, to ask Pope to clear the road for him. I would like to ask General Grant if during his command of armies he had issued an order to one of his commanding generals to move his troops and that commanding general had sent back word to General Grant to “clear the road for him” so that he might move, what kind of an answer he would have given that general?

The troops that Pope was with had been fighting that day. Does General Grant pretend to say that they were in better condition to “clear the road” than the troops of Porter that were to march on the road? Did he ever know an instance of a commanding general of a corps asking the commanding general of the army to “clear the wagons out of the road” so that he himself could march, when he had the very troops marching along the road whose duty it was to perform that office for themselves?

General Grant's statement that “the road was a bad road, in bad condition, almost impassable, outside of being full of wagons,” is not supported by the testimony. The evidence of those who passed over the road is positive to the effect that the road was in good condition; that there was a railroad open from Warrenton Junction to Bristoe Station, on which infantry troops could have marched; that there was a road on either side of the railroad, plain, open, and passable. The evidence further shows that when General Pope sent this order to General Porter, he (Pope) at the same time rode up to General Myers (the chief quartermaster having charge of the trains), and notified him that Porter would march on that road that night, and that he must clear it of wagons and all impediments so that there would be no obstruction to the march.

The evidence further shows that at the time the order was delivered to General Porter the wagons were going into park off the road; that they did go into park, and that from the time (one o'clock) in the morning that he was ordered to march there was no obstruction whatever on the road; and that the road was kept clear until after daylight on the morning of the 28th, at which time General Porter's orders required him to be at Bristoe Station, but that the wagons left the park on the supposition that the troops had passed, and they did again enter the road after daylight on the 28th, and that the only obstruction that there was to his march was the road being obstructed after the time he was to have been at Bristoe Station; that he did not move his command the next morning until after these parked trains had commenced pulling out into the road to move to Bristoe Station.

As regards the darkness of the night, if General Grant has read the evidence carefully he will find that other troops moved that same night—in fact, were moving all night—not only troops belonging to the Union army under Pope, but that the whole Confederate army under Jackson, composed of 32,000 men, moved on that night, with all their wagons and baggage, from Centreville to the position which they held on the 29th, the day of the battle.

I would like General Grant to answer the question how it was that the whole [457] Confederate army could move a distance equal, if not greater, than that which Porter was ordered to move, and take their positions during that night to defend themselves against the assault of Pope's army, and that Porter, who was expected to take part in that battle, could not move the distance of 9 miles along the road when the wagons had been removed or parked out of his way?

General Grant well knows that marches have to be made under great difficulty where the commanding officer is preparing for action, either night or day, rain or shine, and I know of many instances that I could mention where troops under General Grant, especially in the Western army, moved through storm, rain, and in the night, whether light or dark, and I could give an instance where troops were moved under his command where they had to make their road as they went—making bridges also—and never heard of an officer that was ordered to move under that direction having to send to the general of the army for “cavalry to clear the road of wagons for the infantry to march on.”

General Grant says that Porter could exercise his discretion about obeying this order strictly, for the reason that he was not ordered there to fight, but merely to “pursue the enemy.” It will not do to say this, for the very order itself notifies Porter that he must be there at daylight, for the reason that he wanted to drive Jackson's army out of that part of the country. Does any one suspect or believe that an army of 32,000 could be driven out of that part of the country without fighting? But what is the difference? Porter could neither fight nor harm the enemy unless he got there to do it. Not only so, but it was not an order in which the general had a right to exercise his discretion; it was an imperative order to move at “one o'clock in the morning, and to be at Bristoe Station by daylight.”

There could be no misunderstanding of the order, and under the circumstances there was no excuse for not obeying it. The facts are, there was no attempt made to obey it, and the evidence through the whole case shows that Porter did not intend to obey that or any other order strictly, but intended to obey only in such a way as to impede the progress of Pope. Porter did not arrive at Bristoe Station until after ten o'clock the next day. General Grant says: “Under the circumstances, his order (meaning Pope's) required of the troops an impossibility that was quite evident to Porter.”

In what is this statement justified? Certainly not by any knowledge that General Grant had of the ground over which Porter was to march, any more than any one else who reads the evidence; certainly not on account of the road; not on account of its being obstructed; not on account of the condition of the troops, as some of them had been resting from ten o'clock that day until that time; certainly not on account of the distance, and on no account whatever, as disclosed by the evidence in the case, except an indisposition on the part of General Porter to support General Pope in fighting that battle.

For the purpose of showing that which was working in Fitz-John Porter's mind, as well as showing his feeling of contempt for Pope and McDowell, I will here give two letters to show his animus at the time and to show the unkind terms in which he expressed his distrust of the capacity of his superior commander, and in order to show that he had no intention of faithfully serving under Pope.

In the first letter he speaks of the enemy having captured all of Pope's clothing, and McDowell's also, including McDowell's liquors, when it is a wellknown fact that the enemy did not capture Pope's or McDowell's clothing, nor could they capture McDowell's whiskey, as it was equally well known in the army and by all his acquaintances that he never used liquor in his life of any kind. This letter is as follows:

Warrenton, August 27th—P. M.
To General Burnside:
Morell left his medicine, ammunition, and baggage at Kelly's Ford. Can you have it hauled to Fredericksburg and stored? His wagons were all sent to you for grain and ammunition. I have sent back to you every man of the 1st and 6th New York Cavalry. except what has been sent to Gainesville. I will get them to you after a while. Everything here is all sixes and sevens, and I find I am to take care of myself in every respect. Our line of communication has taken care of itself, in compliance with orders. The army has not three days provisions. The enemy captured all Pope's and other clothing; and [458] from McDowell the same, including liquors. No guards accompanying the trains, and small ones guard bridges. The wagons are rolling on, and I shall be here to-morrow. Good-night.

F.-J. Porter, Major-General.

Following this was a letter to General Burnside, at Falmouth, Va., at four o'clock P. M.:

Warrenton Junction, Aug. 27, 1862—4 P. M.
General Burnside, Falmouth,—I send you the last order from General Pope, which indicates the future as well as the present. Wagons are rolling along rapidly to the rear, as if a mighty power was propelling them. I see no cause for alarm, though I think this order may cause it. McDowell moves on Gainesville, where Sigel now is. The latter got to Buckland Bridge in time to put out the fire and kick the enemy, who is pursuing his route unmolested to the Shenandoah, or Loudoun county. The forces are Longstreet's, A. P. Hill's, Jackson's, Whiting's, Ewell's, and Anderson's (late Huger's) divisions. Longstreet is said by a deserter to be very strong. They have much artillery and long wagon-trains. The raid on the railroad was near Cedar Run, and made by a regiment of infantry, two squadrons of cavalry, and a section of artillery. The place was guarded by nearly three regiments of infantry and some cavalry. They routed the guard, captured a train and many men, destroyed the bridge, and retired leisurely down the road towards Manassas. It can easily be repaired. No troops are coming up, except new troops, that I can hear of. Sturgis is here with two regiments. Four were cut off by the raid. The positions of the troops are given in the order. No enemy in our original front. A letter of General Lee, seized when Stuart's assistant adjutant-general was taken, directs Stuart to leave a squadron only to watch in front of Hanover Junction, etc. Everything has moved up north. I find a vast difference between these troops and ours. But I suppose they were new, as they to-day burned their clothes, etc., when there was not the least cause. I hear that they are much disorganized, and needed some good troops to give them heart and, I think, head. We are working now to get behind Bull Run, and, I presume, will be there in a few days, if strategy don't use us up. The strategy is magnificent and tactics in the inverse proportion. I would like some of my ambulances. I would like, also, to be ordered to return to Fredericksburg and push towards Hanover, or, with a large force, to strike at Orange Court-house. I wish Sumner was at Washington and up near the Monocacy with good batteries. I do not doubt the enemy have large amounts of supplies provided for them, and I believe they have a contempt for this Army of Virginia. I wish myself away from it, with all our old Army of the Potomac, and so do our companions. I was informed to-day by the best authority that, in opposition to General Pope's views, this army was pushed out to save the Army of the Potomac, an army that could take the best care of itself. Pope says he long since wanted to go behind the Occoquan. I am in great need of ambulances, and the officers need medicines, which, for want of transportation, were left behind. I hear many of the sick of my corps are in houses on the road very sick. I think there is no fear of the enemy crossing the Rappahannock. The cavalry are all in the advance of the rebel army. At Kelly's and Barnett's fords much property was left, in consequence of the wagons going down for grain, etc. If you can push up the grain to-night, please do so, direct to this place. There is no grain here to-day, or anywhere, and this army is wretchedly supplied in that line. Pope says he never could get enough. Most of this is private.

But if you can get me away, please do so. Make what use of this you choose, so It does good. F.-J. P.

This was written on the evening that Porter received the order to support General Pope, in which he gives the most discouraging account possible of Pope's movements, for no other purpose, in my judgment, than to demoralize the army and bring Pope into disrepute among the officers. He says, “The strategy is magnificent and tactics in the inverse proportion,” showing his utter contempt for the ability of his commanding officers. In the conclusion of his letter he begs, “Please.” Do what? Please get me out of this. Out of what?

He had not yet received his orders to move or to fight, and what does he want to get out of? Out of the Army of Virginia? I suppose out from the command of General Pope, and to bring about such influence as would put Pope under the ban of his officers, so that he might be relieved and probably McClellan put back in command. This letter shows that he started in, after receiving his very first order from Pope, with criticisms of the army and the general commanding, his movements, his positions, and of everything in connection with what he had to do in commanding the same.

He begged to be taken away, saying to Burnside to do what he wished with the letter, so that it would do good. What did he mean by that, unless he was in a conspiracy against Pope, and determined not only to disobey him, but to assist in destroying him? No officer [459] living ever had the confidence or affection of General Grant, in my judgment, to such an extent that if he had written such a letter about him (Grant), criticising him and his movements, and showing a determination not to support him, he could have stayed in the army of General Grant fifteen minutes without being arrested and punished. Even the board that tried to furnish reasons for acquitting Porter could not help but condemn him for his criticisms of his commanding officer. Yet General Grant speaks of him suffering through prejudice, without being guilty of any act of insubordination. How he can do this is a mystery and a wonder to me. It is a well-known fact, recorded both in ancient and modern history, that many of the greatest battles have been fought after night marches, and if General Grant will take the pains to examine the history of wars, down to the very present day, he will find this to be true.

General Grant doubtless remembers, from his readings, that the Athenian general, Demosthenes, led the Athenians against the Syracusans in the night-time, and was successful after having been defeated in the daytime. He will find, too, that Alexander the Great, prior to the battle of Arbela, made his long march at night, starting at dark and arriving on the high ground overlooking the camp of Darius at daylight. He will also find in the battle of Metaurus, where Nero, Lirius, and Porcius succeeded in taking Hasdrubal, the Carthagenian, marches made by these Romans were successfully made after night. Also his reading will tell him that, at the battle of Saratoga, Colonel Brooks after night turned Burgoyne's right, and Burgoyne had to escape by withdrawing his whole force. He will also find that the assault on and the capture of Stony Point, on July 15, 1779, was made at twelve o'clock at night by Anthony Wayne.

He will find also that George Washington crossed the Delaware in small boats on the night of Dec. 25, 1776, when the ice was gorging, floating, and crushing everywhere, and on the 26th the surrender of Colonel Rolf was made. Would General Grant pretend to compare the march that Porter was required to make in the night-time with the crossing of the Delaware when the stream was gorged with ice? He will see also that on the night of Aug. 29, 1776, Washington withdrew from the front of the enemy and crossed over from Long Island to New York over a broad river.

General Grant well remembers the passing of Vicksburg on a dark, foggy night in small steamers, old and unsafe, under the rain of shot and shell, as pouring down from the heavens. He will remember the march made the night before the battle of Thompson's Hill, where many troops were moved in the darkness of night. I myself marched my division from “Hard times Landing” to Bruinsburg, a distance of 8 miles, in the night-time— crossing the river in a boat at daylight— marched to the field of battle, and was on the field, a distance of 12 miles, by twelve o'clock that day.

General Grant will remember that General McPherson's corps, after marching the greater part of the day to the sound of General Sherman's guns at the battle of Jackson, moved that night at one o'clock under orders from General Grant, marching 22 miles over a muddy road, and by twelve o'clock next day was formed in line of battle and confronting the enemy.

These things, however, were done under orders from General Grant, whose orders were always observed.

Suppose his officers had taken it upon themselves to determine the manner of obeying imperative commands, how long does any one suppose they would have kept their commands? And suppose General Grant's justification of the disobedience of orders, as he has stated it now in defence of Porter, had been published by him (Grant) to his armies and been so understood by his generals, does any one suppose by such discipline he would ever have made the success he did and become the hero he is? No, sir! His officers did not stop to write letters of criticism against him. They obeyed his orders and fought the enemy with a good will. If they failed to obey his orders they failed to retain their commands longer under him.

The general's present justification of the disobedience of a peremptory order, if followed out by generals, would make any army a mob, and the commanding [460] general a laughing-stock. It would authorize every officer, down to the lower officers in rank, to determine how and when they would act under orders.

George Washington, who is not yet forgotten in this country as a leader of an army, issued the following order to his army, and until now I have never heard its correctness disputed by any military man:

It is not for every officer to know the principles upon which every order is issued, and to judge how they may or may not be dispensed with or suspended, but their duty to carry it into execution with the utmost punctuality and exactness. They are to consider that military movements are like the working of a clock, and they will go quickly, readily, and easier if every officer does his duty, but without it be as easily disordered, because neglect from any one, like the stopping of a wheel, disorders the whole. The general therefore expects that every officer will duly consider the importance of the observation. Their own reputation and the duty they owe to their country claims it of them, and earnestly calls upon them to do it.

This order was issued at General Washington's headquarters on Oct. 10, 1777, at Taomensing.

This much I have said, based upon undisputed testimony, in answer to General Grant's justification of Porter's disobedience of Pope's order of 6.30 P. M., Aug. 27, 1862.

I now desire to examine the position of General Grant in his justification of Porter in the disobedience of what is known as the “4.30 P. M. order of the 29th,” delivered to Porter by Capt. Douglas Pope; but, in order to get a better understanding of this part of the case, it will be necessary to take up the orders issued to Porter prior to the “4.30 order.” In doing so, I propose to show that he not only disobeyed the “4.30 order,” but all that preceded it. The situation was about as follows:

Jackson, with the Confederate army, was behind the Independent and Manassas Gap Railroad cut, which contemplated road was to connect with the old Manassas Gap Railroad at Gainesville, his left at Sudley Springs, his line following the railroad cut. Longstreet was marching down through Thoroughfare Gap to Gainesville, to the support of Jackson. Pope was moving his force to the front and left of Jackson; his right near Sudley Springs; his left running up the Warrenton, Gainesville, and Centreville pike, extending his left beyond the right flank of Jackson, on and up the pike beyond Groveton. Pope issued an order at three o'clock A. M. for Porter to move at daylight to Centreville. This order being a verbal order, Porter did not obey it, but, instead of moving, he was in his camp at six o'clock A. M., one hour after sunrise, writing another letter to General Burnside criticising the movements of the general commanding. General Pope, in the mean time, finding that Longstreet was moving to the support of Jackson, and that Porter was still not moving, changed his order and put it in writing to Porter, to avoid any excuse on Porter's part. The order was in the following language:

headquarters army of Virginia, Centreville, Aug. 29, 1862.
To Maj.-Gen. Fitz-John Porter:
Push forward with your corps and King's division, which you will take with you, upon Gainesville. I am following the enemy down the Warrenton turnpike. Be expeditious or you will lose much.

John Pope, Major-General Commanding.

This order was handed to General Porter about nine o'clock. His troops were then ready to move. Let me ask: How did he obey this order? He states in his own testimony, before the McDowell court of inquiry, that he did not move until ten o'clock. His line of march was on the road from Manassas Station across Dawkins's Branch to Gainesville, passing some 2 miles to the left of Groveton, the whole distance being 8 miles. He moved slowly and leisurely, and arrived at Dawkins's Branch at twelve o'clock, a distance of 5 miles. By this time Longstreet had his command between Gainesville and Groveton, forming his line on Pageland Lane, to the right and rear of Jackson, his right resting on the old Manassas Gap Railroad, which lay between the Warrenton and Centreville turnpike, and the road on which Porter was marching, his (Longstreet's) right not coming nearer [461] than about one-half mile of the route over which Porter would march to Gainesville. In fact, if Porter had moved forward, his command would have come square upon Longstreet's right flank.

At Dawkins's Branch, General McDowell came up to the head of Porter's column, having what is known as the joint order, or an order to McDowell and Porter both to proceed to Gainesville. Here Porter had halted, and insisted that the enemy were in his immediate front. He put out a few skirmishers and stopped his whole command, stretching along the road back to Bethel Chapel, nearly 3 miles, and remained in that position the whole day. At this point McDowell showed Porter the joint order to proceed to Gainesville, at the same time giving him the information sent to Pope by Buford, of the passage of the fifteen regiments of infantry and 1,500 cavalry through Gainesville that morning. This was the only information that Porter had on the subject of Longstreet's forces, as stated by himself. McDowell, finding that it was impossible to pass Porter's forces in the road with his command, went back and took his command on a road off to the right, reaching out to the rear of Pope's forces that were then engaged in battle. He marched, and arrived in time to put his forces in action, and fought them until nine o'clock that evening.

General Grant says: “And now it is known by others, as it was known by Porter at the time, that Longstreet, with some 25,000 men, was in position confronting Porter by twelve o'clock on Aug. 29, four and a half hours before the 4.30 order was written.” Upon what this statement of General Grant is based it is impossible for me to understand. In the first place, Porter did not know that Longstreet was there with 25,000 men, nor did he know, unless he made a false statement, anything about the force except what General McDowell told him was his information received from General Buford. Nor was Longstreet confronting Porter. He was 2 1/2 miles away from Porter; was not on the same road that Porter was, but was forming west of the old Manassas Railroad, on Pageland Lane, to the right rear of Jackson's forces, fronting the forces under Pope, on Pope's left flank, that were then attacking Jackson. His front was entirely in a different direction from Porter's.

If Porter had moved forward from Dawkins's Branch he would have attacked Longstreet on his right flank and in rear, and, no matter how many troops Longstreet had, Porter would have had an open road behind him. Whether he could have whipped Longstreet or not is not the question. He could have forced Longstreet's whole command to change front and face about, throwing their left clear around and fronting the east instead of the north, and during that movement le would have had the opportunity of striking him heavily in the flank and doubling his forces up, forcing him to withdraw his whole force from attacking Pope on his (Pope's) left flank. If Porter could not have been successful, he had the open road behind him upon which to retreat. General Grant says that Porter was left with 10,000 men. If General Grant will examine the report he will find that King's division was no part of Porter's command; withdrawing it did not reduce his own force, or the force that he had reported as under his command that morning. His own report shows that he had about 13,000 men.

I would like to put this question to General Grant: On his own showing General Grant says that Pope had 33,000 men confronting Jackson. Jackson had 22,000 men. Porter had 10,000 men. Longstreet's own report shows that a large portion of his force was attacking Pope's left in front of Jackson. Add the 25,000, men of Longstreet to Jackson's 22,000, and it would make the Confederate army 47,000 strong. Adding Porter's 10,000 men, Grant's estimate, to Pope's 38,000, would have made 43,000 men contending against 47,000 men. But take Porter's report (morning report) showing that he had 13,000 men, which with Pope's 33,000 would make 46,000 men on Pope's side and 47,000 men on the Confederate side. As a military man, would General Grant not say, no matter where the attack was made by Porter, it would have been using 46,000 men against 47,000 men, instead of using 33,000 men against 47,000 men?

In all battles General Grant well knows that men are not formed in one straight [462] line, or attacked in one place; but the attacks are made wherever the enemy is found, and wherever there is a position for attacking, and will he say that a flank attack is not the best attack that one army can make upon another, unless the rear is left open to attack? Will he contend (as he has in his article) that the intention was that Porter should attack Jackson on his left, when he was directed to attack the enemy in the flank? Does he consider Longstreet's command any less the enemy than Jackson's command?

General Longstreet in his report of that battle to General Lee states that:

About four o'clock in the afternoon the enemy began to press forward against General Jackson's position. Wilcox's brigades were moved back to their former position, and Hood's two brigades, supported by Evans, were quickly thrust forward to the attack. At the same time Wilcox's three brigades made a like advance, as also Hunton's brigade of Kemper's command.

Now we will see how many troops there were. Wilcox had three brigades and Hood two brigades, Evans one, and Hunton one. Seven brigades of Longstreet's command (besides his artillery), that were formed in battery and playing furiously upon Pope's left in the direction of Groveton, and at four o'clock were attacking Pope's left at that very time, and they were not withdrawn, but continued the onslaught. At five o'clock (one hour later), General Porter received the “4.30 order” to attack the enemy's right and rear at once. At this very moment when he was ordered to attack the larger portion of Longstreet's forces were engaged against Pope's forces in front of Jackson, leaving but a small force back under Longstreet for the protection of the flank of the army. Will General Grant pretend to say, as a military man, that this attack at that time if made by Porter would have been a failure? His troops were rested, had been lying on the road, had not been in action, had not been formed in line of battle; but listening to the sound of the guns of the enemy during the whole time. General Grant says (speaking of Porter):

Thus left alone, facing superior numbers advantageously posted, and ignorant of the needs of Pope, if indeed he had any, Porter had necessarily to bide McDowell's arrival on his right. In the mean time, his duty was manifestly to engage Longstreet's attention and prevent him from moving against Pope, especially while McDowell was out of support of both Pope and Porter.

If General Grant has examined the evidence carefully, he will find that Porter faced no such numbers; there was nothing in his front during the day except cavalry pickets, except at one time when Jones's brigade moved down on another road, on a higher position, where they could look at Porter, and fired a few shots from two pieces of light artillery, forcing Porter to have his men hide in the brush (which the evidence shows) to keep from being seen.

His duty, General Grant says, was to purposely engage Longstreet's attention. I presume he does not mean that Pope should have done this by not moving forward, either to attack or under pretext of attacking, nor by moving all his troops to Dawkins's Branch, nor by allowing them to lie along the road a distance of 3 miles under cover of woods with arms stacked. How did he engage his attention? Did he engage his attention so as to prevent nearly the whole force of Longstreet from attacking Pope's left flank and forcing it back? Certainly not, if the evidence is to be believed; certainly not, if Longstreet reported the truth. But the truth is, instead of Porter's engaging Longstreet's attention, General Stuart's report shows clearly that a few cavalrymen engaged Porter's attention.

In Porter's report of that day's operations he says that the dust on the road in his front was so heavy that it was evident to his mind a large force was moving against him. Stuart (a Confederate general) says in his report (and it seems that General Grant takes the statements of Confederates for their numbers, and he ought consequently to accept all they say) that he fooled Porter that day, and kept him from attacking Longstreet's right flank, by having some brush tied to mules' tails and dragging them up and down the road to make dust, and this dust made by brush was the “large force” that Porter [463] found in his front on the road leading from Manassas Station to Gainesville.

It seems that General Grant has fallen into the same error by insisting in his article that Longstreet's force was in front of Porter, when it was not at any time in his front, or near his front, or facing his front. General Grant says that the court-martial that tried Porter made a mistake. He says that the “4.30 order” ordering Porter to attack at once contemplated the attacking of Jackson's forces on the right flank, and “that no doubt this was in the mind of the court and of the commanding general.” General Grant falls into error here again. General Pope had the information at nine o'clock in the morning that a force had passed through Gainesville (fifteen regiments of infantry and 1,500 cavalry), and when he issued the order to Porter in the morning it was to meet the force that he knew to be coming in that direction, but whether he knew it when he issued his order in the morning is immaterial, as he had the information early that day. After receiving this information, as a general he knew that the force coming down the road was coming to Jackson's right and rear so as to attack him on the left flank; and when he issued the “4.30 order,” how can General Grant say that he (Pope) had not contemplated the attack of Longstreet on the right flank, when he claims that Porter himself knew that Longstreet was resting his right flank in his (Porter's) direction, and there was nothing in sight that he could attack except the right flank of Longstreet?

General Grant makes a plan, draws lines, and puts Jackson's 22,000 men facing Pope's 33,000, and places on this line Porter squarely fronting Longstreet's 25,000 men, when he must know, if he has examined the evidence, that no such positions were occupied during that day by the forces of Longstreet and Porter. General Grant says:

As shown by this diagram, Porter was not in a position to attack the right flank of Jackson, because he was at least 3 miles away and not across his flank, as shown in the first diagram. With Longstreet's presence, to have obeyed that order he would have been obliged with 10,000 men to have defeated 25,000 men in a chosen position before he could have moved upon the flank of the enemy as the order directed.

Thus General Grant puts Porter squarely in front of Longstreet with his 25,000 men, and says that he could not have, obeyed the order without first whipping Longstreet's 25,000 with 10,000 men. He would have had to have done that and then turned around and attacked Jackson on the right flank. I admit this would have been requiring too much of a man whose movements were like those of General Porter; but I would ask General Grant to explain how it is that Longstreet shows that he had seven brigades at this time attacking Pope's left flank, yet he (Grant) says that Porter would have had to whip the whole 25,000. He (Porter) was certainly not required to whip any one. He was only required to attack the right flank of the enemy, and the right flank of the enemy was the right flank of Longstreet's command. He was, part of the enemy, his flank being in the direction of Porter.

General Grant says: “He was 3 miles away from Jackson's flank.” If so, then why not attack Longstreet, whose flank was sticking out in air where Porter could have attacked it, as it was the only flank that presented itself where he could attack. How, then, was he to construe the order? Was he to order his men to attack Jackson, when the order did not say so? Was he to say, “Longstreet's flank is sticking out there, I can see it, but I am not to attack that! He is not the enemy! The order says to attack the enemy.” Will he say that does, not mean to attack Longstreet? This is the logic of General Grant's position.

General Grant also assumes that to have attacked under that order would have taken Porter until nine o'clock, inasmuch as he would have had to make disposition of some of his troops, issue orders, etc. How is it possible that it would have required so much time when he was sent out there that morning for the purpose of fighting? What orders would he have been obliged to issue except to move the troops forward to the position of the flank and put them in line? And, as he moved up the road, with his troops following, one regiment right after the [464] other, and faced them to the flank of the enemy, he would have been in line for battle. These men lay there for a whole day prepared (as Grant says) at twelve o'clock for the attack on the enemy. Does General Grant come in now and say it would have taken him from five until nine o'clock to have made an attack, when his troops were in readiness to do so, as Porter himself claims they were, at twelve o'clock on that day, and as General Grant also claims?

Let us contrast also the action of Porter with that of General McDowell, who, as the evidence proves, moved in line of battle and attacked the enemy at six o'clock, and McDowell's forces, with others along the line of Pope, were engaged in battle until nine o'clock at night. Could not Porter have fought his troops at this hour as well as General McDowell and other officers did theirs? Was he to be a special exception to all rules of warfare? Is he to be excused for everything he failed to do, while others did the things he failed in?

I wish to call General Grant's attention to one little thing which occurred during the war, under his command. He remembers the march that McPherson's troops made in the night from Jackson to Baker's Creek. Does he not remember that while Pemberton, with nearly his whole army, was attacking Hovey's division, my division was moved in on the right of Hovey, and Crocker supporting Hovey, these three divisions receiving nearly the whole force of Pemberton's 30,000 men? Does he not remember of one small brigade sent by me (with his assent) down through a strip of wood, a distance of a mile or a mile and a half away from the balance of the force, getting in on the left flank of Pemberton's army? Does he not remember that that one little brigade of not more than 2,000 men attacked the left flank of Pemberton's army, and that the latter became so panic-stricken that the whole army fled, and we captured all the artillery and drove them that night across Black River? If a brigade of 2,000 men could do all this by striking the flank of the enemy, what does General Grant think Porter with his corps could have done by striking Longstreet in flank on that afternoon?

There may be this difference, however: General Grant will remember that his generals were in earnest, and supported him in all things that he required. The evidence shows that after Porter received this “4.30 order” a movement was made across Dawkins's Branch by some of his troops, and the general officer, while placing his troops in position as though going to move in the direction of Longstreet's flank, looked around to see where the other troops were, and found they were all retiring. The evidence shows that they not only did not advance, or attempt to do so other than what I have stated, but that they retired, and that some of Porter's command—to wit, one brigade, returned to Centreville that night, a distance of several miles.

The evidence shows that Porter did not attempt to communicate with Pope during the day, but that all three of the notes that he sent during the day in reference to position, etc., were sent to McDowell and King. At the time that Pope issued his order to Porter it was expected that Porter would move forward, and McDowell's command would also attack at the same time. McDowell's command did attack, and Longstreet's forces poured down upon the left flank of Pope and forced them back, and instead, as I have said, of Porter's attacking or moving to the front, he moved to the rear.

In order to show that Porter not only failed to obey orders, but that he attempted to demoralize the army, I herewith insert a note sent to General McDowell by him, which was received at Pope's headquarters at five o'clock, as noted in General Heintzelman's minutes of the battle kept that day. General Heintzelman says in his minutes: “General Porter reports the enemy is driving him back, and he is retiring on Manassas.” This was received just at or about the time that McDowell was going into action with his division. Here is the note received at Pope's headquarters:

Failed in getting Morell over to you. After wandering about the woods for a time I withdrew him, and while doing so artillery opened upon us. The fire of the enemy having advanced and ours retired, have determined to withdraw to Manassas. I have attempted to communicate with McDowell and Sigel, but my messengers [465] have run into the enemy. They have gathered artillery, and cavalry, and infantry, and the advancing masses of dust show the enemy coming in force. I am now going to the head of the column to see what is passing and how affairs are going, and I will communicate with you. Had you not better send your trains back?

F.-J. Porter, Major-General.

In this note he says: “I withdrew, and while doing so artillery opened upon us, and the fire of the enemy having advanced and ours retired, I have determined to withdraw to Manassas” (Manassas being the station from which he started that morning, 5 miles to the rear). What artillery opened upon him? Two small pieces that I have mentioned before. One section of a battery fired a few shots at about three o'clock, when his men were directed to put themselves under cover to keep the enemy from discovering them. No attack was made upon him. He made no attack upon any one, and yet he says, “I have determined to withdraw to Manassas,” showing that at the very time that Pope was in the height of the engagement the whole corps of Porter, covering his left flank, was probably then on the retreat.

He says further that “they have gathered artillery, and cavalry, and infantry, and the advancing masses of dust show the enemy coming in force.” Now, the evidence shows that no enemy came in his front except what I have mentioned heretofore; that no attack was made on him, no movement in force was made against him, and that but one brigade ever showed itself during the whole day, and that did not advance upon him.

The evidence does show that the dust he mentioned was produced by dragging brush up and down the road, and in no other way; showing that he had decided not to fight, but was determined that Pope should lose that battle. By his conduct one might easily conclude that he was seeking to produce a panic in the army; and, while a portion of his command were retreating back, not only to Manassas, but to Centreville, Pope's 33,000 men were fighting the whole combined army of 47,000, with probably the exception of a few brigades, and the battle raged until, some reports say, nine o'clock, others ten o'clock, at night. Yet General Grant insists that those men could not have possibly gotten into that fight in any way during that engagement without being utterly destroyed.

You will see from the facts I have stated that General Porter did not only disobey the 6.30 order of the 27th, but disobeyed the three o'clock order of the morning of the 29th, which directed him to move on to Centreville; that he disobeyed the order delivered to him about nine o'clock on the morning of the 29th, ordering him to push forward to Gainesville, in not leaving until ten o'clock; that he disobeyed it in not pushing forward; that he utterly disobeyed the 4.30 order directing him to attack the enemy's right flank; and, in fact, that he obeyed no order in any proper military sense that was given to him, from the first order on the night of the 27th up to and through the engagement of the 29th. General Smith, who is now a paymaster of the army, in a conversation with Pope, on the morning of the 29th, told General Pope that General Porter would fail him in that battle. Gen. Ben Roberts did the same thing. Porter did fail him, utterly disobeying his orders, so that General Pope was constrained to issue an order on the night of the 29th in the following words:

General,—Immediately upon receipt of this order, the precise hour of which you will acknowledge, you will march your command to the field of battle of to-day, and report to me in person for orders. You are to understand that you are expected to comply strictly with this order, and be present on the field within three hours after its reception or after daybreak to-morrow morning.

And General Grant further says that he considers the facts given before the Schofield board “fully exonerated Porter of the charge of disobedience of the 4.30 order, and also in his lukewarmness in supporting the commanding general.” How he can make this last statement I cannot understand. I will here insert a paragraph from a letter of George B. McClellan, major-general, written on Sept. 1, 1862, at 5.30 P. M., to Major-General Porter at Centreville, commanding the 5th Corps: “I ask you, for my sake, that of the country, and of all the old Army of the Potomac, that you and all friends will lend the fullest and most cordial [466] cooperation to General Pope in all the operations now going on.”

I merely put this in to ask the question of General Grant whether or not McClellan himself does not show from the writing of this note to General Porter that he did not believe that he (Porter) was cordially co-operating with General Pope? This note was written three days after the battle, and yet General Grant says he is fully exonerated from the imputation of lukewarmness in his support of General Pope. The sworn testimony of a man named Lord shows that General Porter told him (Lord) that he was not loyal, and had not been loyal to Pope, and all the facts collated show this statement to be true. Porter, with his troops—13,000 men under arms—lay the whole day within 2 1/2 miles of a battle raging where the artillery and musketry did not cease during the whole time.

I would like to know when a similar case has occurred? He ought to have moved and fought without orders to do so, but he did not move; he did not fight even with orders to do so. A better excuse for not doing so must be found.

I now wish to call attention to another proposition of General Grant's which is equally as astounding as anything in reference to Porter's conduct. Speaking of Porter, he says that “twenty years of the best part of his life have been consumed in trying to have his name and his reputation restored before his countrymen. In his application now before Congress he asks only that he may be restored to the rolls of the army, with the rank that he would have if the court-martial had never been held. This, in my judgment, is a very simple part of what is possible to do in this case and of what ought to be done. General Porter should, in the way of partial restoration, be declared by Congress to have been convicted by mistaken testimony, and therefore not to have been out of the army. This would make him a major-general of volunteers until the date might be fixed for his muster-out of that rank, after which he would be continued as a colonel of infantry and brevet brigadier-general of the United States army from the date of the act when he could be placed on the retired list.”

This proposition would give him over $70,000 out of the treasury of the United States for no act performed, for no duty done, for no service rendered, except the failure in performance of his duty on Aug. 29, 1862. General Grant ought to know whether Porter was dismissed or not from the army on what he considers “mistaken evidence” ; that he was dismissed and put out of the army, his place was filled, and he has been a citizen ever since, is to-day a citizen and not a soldier. I know of no rule of law, no rule of justice, that would give this to General Porter or to any other man dismissed from the army. This rule would establish a precedent that would pay money back to every man dismissed from the army that might ever afterwards be placed back again, whether dismissed at the beginning of the war for disloyalty or not, if they could get up testimony such as is wanted. Some have been put back into the army by act of Congress since, and, under this rule of General Grant's, they could come and claim pay for the whole time they have been out of the army, saying that they were not disloyal and were improperly dismissed. Every officer that may be convicted for misconduct in office, civil or military, and removed from office, if afterwards, on examination of the evidence, he obtains a decision that he was improperly dismissed, on this proposition would he be entitled to pay while he was out of office? A proposition of this kind and a principle of this sort should not be entertained for a moment, and I am very much surprised to find a suggestion of this kind coming from the pen of General Grant.

I believe I have answered fully the propositions laid down by General Grant in justification of Fitz-John Porter, and merely wish to add that, after twenty years have passed and the country has been raked and scraped for some kind of flimsy testimony for an excuse to restore this man to the army, no such testimony has been found. The effort to vindicate Porter at the expense of the reputations of such men as General Garfield, General Hunter, and their associates, all honorable gentlemen, who found him guilty, and also to cloud the reputation of Abraham Lincoln, who approved the findings, cannot succeed. [467]

This is asking too much, even though it be asked by such men as General Grant.

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