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be at Bristow Station at daylight, did not appear, on the 28th," when Porter's command reached that Point ? (P. 177.)
Ignorance, however, of these circumstances cannot be used in vindication of the Court. How they are to be vindicated, except upon the hypothesis of an abtuseness of intellect, the effect of prejudice, no fair mind can imagine.
But in the march, when it was begun, the Judge Advocate says, “there was no haste or vigor displayed,” and that the mud, spoken of by General Griffin, could not have been an obstacle “at such a season. (he adds) in summer, and a season of drought, as appears from the clouds of dust which are continually brought to our notice by the testimony," and that "he cannot (therefore) be misled,” by the alleged existence of mud.
A few words on these points are all that can be necessary :
" It was
1. The charge of the absence of haste and vigor rests on the evidence of De Kay. On his statement that the troops, were marched “at the rate at which troops would move if there was no necessity for rapid movement," and that, in his "judgment,” they could “have moved much faster than they did in point of fact."
In the first place, the evidence of this witness, who was on Pope's staff, is to be taken with many grains of allowance. He recollects little except what was thought to prejudice Porter. He remembers nothing of what Porter said to the attending Generals, except that he states Porter said: “Gentlemen, there is something for you to sleep upon," a fact positively disproved by Butterfield, and not stated by Sykes or Morell.
2. He said, "he could not recollect precisely” whether Porter announced his purpose, either to obey the order or not, a fact clearly proved by each of the Generals.
3. That he “was aware of the determination not to start until daylight," because he "went to sleep" on hearing so, when the Generals, all of them say, at first he resolved on starting at once, and only delayed till three through their earnest advice.
4. He does not say, what Butterfield proved he did say, that he told Porter “it would be very difficult in getting back. That he would have hard work to find the way.”
But, it is not necessary to rely on these circumstances. As the fact of the asserted want of haste and vigor is positively disproved by each of the Generals, and by other officers, a fact also not disclosed to the President.
1. Norell answered “Yes” to this question : “After starting at 3 o'clock, did your own command, and, so far as you know, the rest of the corps make the best of their way, and push on as fast as possible towards Bristow Station ? (P. 145.)
2. Sykes.—“I led the advance on that morning, (the 28th,) and I continued my march to Bristow Station, with the exception of the usual halts which commands always have to allow men to pass to the rear, and the one that I spoke of at the Creek, when I said, I found it necessary to halt my command for some time, in order to unite it.” (P. 179.)
3. Locke.—“They (the troops) marched as fast as they could under the circumstances,” and by the circumstances, he said, he meant "the darkness of the night, and the obstructions of the road.” He also stated that the troops " were very much fatigued." (P. 134.)
How idle to disregard all this concurring proof, and rely not only on the unsupported, but the contradicted evidence of De Kay. And how unfair to the President, and to the public, (the review was intended for both,) and unjust to Porter, not to give the opposing and contradictory evidence.
II. That the mud was no obstacle " to the onward march of soldiers determined to do their duty.” No evidence was offered to prove that there was no mud on any part of the line of march.
I. The Judge Advocate infers it “from the clouds of dust ” continually brought to our notice by the evidence. How illogical. What rare simplicity. The weather was hot and dry. The parts of the road where there was no water, were dusty. There could not, therefore, be mud, where there was no dust, but water. Had the exigency of his case required it, the acute and learned reviewer would have maintained, that as Pennsylvania Avenue is at times excrutiatingly dusty, there cannot then be mud in the marshes of the Potomac.
II. But the fact of there being mud, and that it operated to impede the march, was proved expressly by Generals Griffin and Butterfield. They were on the spot, leading the march of their respective columns, and it is rather more than probable, that they would know better whether there was mud in the route, and whether it interposed an obstacle to the march, than an official sitting in his study, and evidently bent on showing that there was nothing in the way to impede "the onward march of soldiers determined to do their duty."
1. Griffin.-“I know that the artillery which followed the brigade, that is, a carriage or two of the artillery which followed the brigade, got stuck in the mud, or in a little creek, and had trouble in getting out.” (P. 161.)
2. Butterfield.-In answer to a question by the Judge Advocate, lie said: "I know that after it had got to be about daylight, I went out to the head of my column, and I found a difficult place to cross—that there was difficulty in getting the troops across. I could see that it had been dark, and the troops had been impeded, but they began to go on more rapidly, as light broke.”
He was then asked again by the Judge Advocate to “state the character of the difficulty—the character of the place—was it mud or water, or what was it ?” And he answered:
" It was mud and water both one of those streams that we almost always have to force troops over. In the day time you could force them, over very well—but at night, when it cannot be seen, it is a very difficult thing to get men across such a place." (P. 187.)
This testimony of Butterfield is not even alluded to in the review. Then, unless Griffin and Butterfield swear falsely, (for mistake as to such facts was impossible,) notwithstanding the hypothesis of the Judge Ad. vocate, resting on the existence of dust on portions of the road, there was mud and water in other portions, and to an extent interposing ob. stacles “to the onward march of soldiers determined to do their duty.” But, finally, on this head. Why is it, that Porter, alone of the command is accused of want of “haste or vigor ?”
As Commander of the entire corps, his duty was but to issue the necessary orders to his division Commanders, for the march. And this they all say, was done. It was their duty to superintend the execution of the orders. They are equally responsible for disregard of duty, as their immediate chief. He relied, as he had a right to rely, upon them to conduct the march with proper “haste” and “vigor.” He had every reason for such reliance. They had been under his command, on many battle-fields. He had seen them in the midst of countless perils, ever foremost in danger, unsurpassed in skill, and nobly devoted to duty. "To do their duty,” he knew them to be “soldiers determined.” If there was any failure, then, in the speed of the march, it is to be referred to them, and not to him.” And yet, who has ever called their patriotism, or their efforts in regard to it, in question ? The Government certainly has not. They are now, and have been continuously, from the 27th of August, 1862, in its service, and on duty. To hold Porter responsible for their
alleged misconduct, (for which, however, there is not the least ground) and not only not even to censure them, but to keep them in honored commands, is an unequal measure of justice, that amounts to a gross and palpable wrong
One victim, however, was enough. To have sacrificed to the behest of party, or to the exigencies of an ill-planned campaign, and of an unfortunately selected Commander, Morell, Griffin and Butterfield, would have been too glaringly to have outraged public opinion, and it was not done. But the very omission of passing by these officers, and visiting upon their immediate chief, the sole responsibility for the asserted want of haste and vigor in the march of the 28th of August, which, if it was true, was their fault, and not his, demonstrates the depth and the enormity of the injustice done to Porter.
SECOND SPECIFICATION.- FIRST CHARGE.
II. The second specification of the first charge is, Porter's failure to obey the joint order to himself and McDowell of the 29th August, 1862. That order was as follows:
"HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF VIRGINIA,
CENTREVILLE, August 29th, 1862.” “ GENERALS MCDOWELL AND PORTER :
You will please move forward with your joint command towards Gainesville. I sent General Porter written orders to that effect, an hour and a
Heintzleman, Sigel, and Reno, are moving on the Warrenton turnpike, and must now be not far from Gainesville. I desire that as soon as communication is established between this force and your own, the whole command shall halt. It may be necessary to fall back behind Bull Run to-night. I presume it will be so on account of our supplies.
I have sent no orders of any description to RICKETTS, and none to interfere in any way with the movement of General McDowell's troops, except what I sent by his aid-de-camp last night, which were to hold bis position on the Warrenton Pike, until the troops from here should fall on the enemy's flank and rear.
I do not even know Rickett's position, as I have not been able to find out where General McDowell was until a late hour this morning.
General McDowell will take immediate steps to communicate with General Ricketts, and instruct him to join the other division of his corps as soon as practicable. If any considerable advantages are to be gained by departing from this order, it will not be strictly carried out. One thing must be held in view, that the troops must occupy a position, from which they can reach Bull Run to night, or by morning. The indications are that the whole force of the enemy is moving in this direction, at
a pace that will bring them here by to-morrow night, or the next day. My own Headquarters will for the present be with Heintzleman's or at this place.
JOHN POPE, Major General Commanding."
I. The first enquiry on this head is, what, in one particular, was the meaning of the order ? Was it that each of the two Generals was to act independently of each other, or that, being together when received, and being executed, they were to be governed by the sixty-second Article of War? This, as will be seen, is a material point, and was so considered by the Judge Advocate. He endeavours to give it the former interpretation, and relies for that purpose mainly on Pope's evidence. Pope, he says, testified that his “intention " was “that they should act independently of each other, and each in direct subordination to himself.” (P. 306.) But even with this assistance, he admits that the point is not clear. Anxious as he was to maintain that construction, he could not bring himself to say, in its support, more than that, “under these circumstances, it may well be questioned" whether, under the Article of War referred to, “General McDowell could continue the command which he had assumed over these joint forces.” Here, again, as throughout, contrary to the universal rule, doubt, however reasonable, is to be solved to the prejudice of Porter. “Full weight,” says Bennet, and all other authorities, is to be given "to every argument or presumption in favor of the prisoner.” (P. 126.) Porter was, by the Court and the Judge Advocate, denied the benefit of this rule.
In fact, however, there is no room for doubt. The construction maintained by the Judge Advocate as probable, is manifestly wrong.
II. To call to the aid of that construction Pope's oral proof before the Court, of his intention, is in violation of the best established rules of evidence.
The order must be its own interpreter. To construe written matter by evidence aliunde, every professional man knows to be inadmissable. Nothing but confusion, mistake and injustice would be the result of such a course. And in this instance, to refer to Pope's evidence, given months after the order, not made known to McDowell and Porter when they received it, or afterwards, until he gave such evidence, is as absurd as it is unjust. How were either of them to know Pope's intention, except as the order disclosed it ? He was twelve miles away from them. The order was received, without any explanation or message from Pope. His mind, his intent, they could but collect from the order itself; and certainly they could not foresee that, months afterwards, Pope would seek to give it an intent, not only not consentaneous with, but contra