Welcome to The Perryville Civil War Battlefield Website

pvillebutton

No. 29.

Excerpts from the Testimony of Colonel SPEED S. FRY, Commanding, Second Brigade, First Division, Third Corps, Army of the Ohio.

Transcript from Phonographic Notes of the Buell Court of Inquiry.

OR Vol. 16, Pt. 1, P. 218 – 235 

NASHVILLE, TENN., Monday Morning, December 22, 1862.
 

The Commission met pursuant to adjournment. All the members present; also the judge-advocate and General Buell.

General SPEED S. FRY (a witness for the Government), being duly sworn by the judge-advocate, testified as follows:

By the JUDGE-ADVOOATE:

Question. State, if you please, your name and position in the service of the United States.

     Speed S. Fry; I am brigadier-general of the volunteer service.

Question. Did you accompany the march of the Army of the Ohio in the pursuit of Bragg after he crossed the Tennessee?

I did, sir.

Question. What was the condition of the Army of the Ohio as to discipline?

     It was considerably demoralized.

Question. State, if you please, the cause of that demoralization, as far as you know.

     There were two or three causes tending to demoralize the army. One was the want of supplies and the necessity of foraging upon a destitute country. Another was the idea that Bragg would be permitted with a large army to invade Kentucky. There seemed to be an intense feeling throughout the whole army on the subject of permitting the rebel army again to invade Kentucky. Officers and men felt that Bragg could have been checked before reaching Kentucky if proper diligence had been used.

Question. What estimate was placed upon the number of the invading army by intelligent officers, from all their sources of information, previous to reaching Munfordville?

     From all the information obtained upon that subject the force of Bragg was estimated at 36,000. There were rumors, however, in the camp and throughout the country that Bragg had an army of from 50,000 to 60,000 men. The most intelligent officers with whom I conversed believed that Bragg's army did not exceed 36,000.

Question. You can state whether it was known at that time, that is, previous to your arrival at Munfordville, that Kirby Smith had invaded Kentucky, and what the object of Kirby Smith and Bragg was.

     It was known before that that Kirby Smith had invaded Kentucky, and from all I could gather in regard to their object in this invasion it was to hold Kentucky as a part of the Southern Confederacy.

Question. You can state whether it was known at the time how Bragg was situated in reference to supplies and what expectation he had of forming a junction with Kirby Smith.

     From the best information I could obtain Bragg was poorly supplied with provisions at the time of the invasion by his army. I could not ascertain certainly at what point they expected to form a junction; but, judging from events since that time, they must have expected to unite at Perryville or Harrodsburg.

Question. I ask you, general, in reference to the information or opinion held by the army at the time; that is, previous to the capture of Munfordville. I wish to know at what point it was expected that Bragg could get supplies for his army that he was then marching without.

     I do not think he could have obtained supplies short of Bardstown, Lebanon, and through that region of country. Of course he could have obtained some supplies soon after reaching Kentucky; not I think to a very great extent.

Question. State, if you please, whether you were at the battle of Perryville; what you know of the number of the enemy, and of their movements on the night after the battle and the day subsequent.

     I was at the battle of Perryville. I had no certain means of ascertaining the number of the enemy at Perryville during the fight. My only information was obtained from citizens living in and around the place. From that information I came to the conclusion that Bragg and Kirby Smith formed a junction at Perryville, and Kirby Smith, with the whole or a portion of his army, was there. The day after the battle the evacuation took place, and they moved in the direction of Harrodsburg, as I learn, with the larger portion of their army. A portion of it, I learned, moved in the direction of Danville.

Question. State, if you please, whether you are acquainted with that region of country and how you came to a knowledge of it.

     I am very well acquainted with that part of the country. I was born and raised within 8 miles of the place and have traveled a great deal over it.

Question. What was your position, general, on the day of the battle of Perryville and the day succeeding the battle; that is, what field were you in and what were you doing?

     I was made the officer for the day of the center of the army the night previous to the battle. About 11 o'clock at night I passed out with one regiment of my brigade to the house of Mr. Jardine [Jordan] Peter. I there filed a regiment off to the left of the Springfield pike, and ordered them to take a position not far in the rear of the ridge upon which the battle commenced in the morning. General Gilbert, after some reflection, concluded to send a strong picket out. He ordered out Colonel [Daniel] McCook with his brigade, from, I believe, General Sheridan's division. I directed Colonel McCook, with four regiments, I think, of his brigade, to take a position upon the right of the road and upon this ridge. I took one regiment from his brigade and placed it upon the left of the road and the left regiment which I had already stationed there. From the Tenth Indiana Regiment I directed one company to advance as near to the front as the officer might deem safe. They advanced a little beyond this ridge of which I have already spoken to a house situated on the west side of another ridge nearer the town. There they found the pickets of the enemy. A few shots were exchanged, and, according to the directions I had given, my pickets fell back out of reach of their guns in order to prevent any alarm. Colonel McCook, with his brigade, came upon the enemy just before day and had a considerable engagement, at least with the pickets. I immediately went out to where the two regiments were on the left and advanced them at least half a mile. I remained there some time watching the movements of the enemy, and felt satisfied from what I saw and from my knowledge of the position of the ground that just in front of me and to my left the enemy would make the most decided stand. In the course of an hour after I had advanced those two regiments two pieces of artillery, together with some two or three regiments of cavalry, came to this point. I inquired of Colonel [Ebenezer] Gay, who was in command of the cavalry, if there was any enemy just in front of that battery and of our forces. He said the enemy had taken their position, he believed, just on the point of the first ridge of the two of which I have spoken, and deemed it advisable that I should go there and drive them away. I followed his advice and succeeded in doing what he desired. The fight was still going on immediately to my right by General Sheridan's division. These two regiments remained there some time, but were finally ordered back; the Tenth Indiana to the rear to join its brigade, and the other, the Eighty-sixth Illinois, to join Colonel McCook. I was not in the fight after that during the day.

Question. What was the conduct of General Gilbert immediately previous to the fight, pending the fight, and subsequent to it?

     General Gilbert's conduct toward me was generally courteous and polite. I had no reason to complain of him personally. I heard a great deal of complaint from subordinate officers in regard to his conduct toward the men. They spoke of it as being very un-officer-like and ungentlemanly.  I, however, saw nothing of it myself. I saw very little of General Gilbert during the day of the fight. I cannot therefore say what part he took in the engagement.

Question. I ask you, general, in reference to what he did; whether he did his duty; whether it was done with ability as a general, if you know.

     The two divisions besides my own under his command were in the fight and behaved well, and I suppose that they were under the immediate control and direction of General Gilbert. So far as I could learn in regard to the management of those two divisions General Gilbert behaved well, though I know nothing of the part he took in it personally. He gave me no directions as to what I should do during the day.  All the directions I obtained from him were as to what I should do the night previous to the battle as officer of the day, and what I did on the day of the fight was done, I must say, upon my own responsibility. I do not think I saw General Gilbert any time during the day of the fight. What directions he gave to his other divisions I am unable to say, and cannot therefore say whether he displayed great military skill or not.

Question. Had General Gilbert's entire force been engaged in that fight what effect would it have had upon the fortunes of the day, in your opinion?

     My opinion is that the fortunes of the day would have turned a great deal more in our favor than they did.

Question. At the time you were approaching Perryville was it known to the army what the movements of Kirby Smith were - in what direction he was marching?

     I learned that information had been obtained to the effect that Kirby Smith was marching in the direction of Harrodsburg from the north of Harrodsburg; that a portion of his army and General Sill's division had a slight engagement near Hardensville, I think in Shelby County, and perhaps another slight engagement near Lawrenceburg, 20 miles north of Harrodsburg.

Question. At what time on the morning of the 9th was it known to your army that Bragg was moving toward Harrodsburg and was the object of that movement understood?

     I do not know at what time it was reported at headquarters.  I learned it between 7 and 8 o'clock in the morning. I do not know what was the object of the movement.  I suppose what was the object, but do not know certainly. I was satisfied myself that they were anxious to get out of our way.

Question. Had our army moved from Perryville on the morning of the 9th to Danville, or in that direction, what would have been the effect, instead of going to Harrodsburg?

     I think the effect would have been to have checked them at Camp Dick Robinson, provided our army had continued to move in the proper direction beyond Danville.

There was but one way of escape, in my opinion, for them from Camp Dick Robinson, and that way was left entirely open.

Question. By your moving toward Harrodsburg instead of Danville?

     Yes, sir.

By General DANA:

Question. What was your rank and the character of your command in the Army of the Ohio from the time Bragg crossed the Tennessee River during the retrograde movement of the Army of the Ohio?

     I was brigadier-general of the volunteer forces, and in command of a brigade comprising four regiments and one battery. From October the 9th, the day after the battle, I was in command of the First Division, and have been up to this time.

Question. Do you know anything, during one or two days prior to the battle of Perryville, of General Gilbert taking possession of a spring of water for the exclusive use of himself and his staff?

     I knew nothing of it personally; I only heard that such was the fact. General Gilbert ordered me the night before the battle to place a guard over a pool of water for the use of the men.

Question. Do you know anything of the size and quantity of water in the spring you heard he took possession of?

     I do not, sir. I did not know there was a spring there. All the water I drank, except on one occasion, was from the pool before spoken of.

Question. At this time were the men suffering from the want of water?

     They were suffering very much.

By General ORD:

Question. Before the battle of Perryville did General Buell place over you any officer with whose right and capacity to command you were dissatisfied?

     I cannot say that I was wholly dissatisfied myself, that is, on my own account. I was dissatisfied, however, on account of the treatment of that officer placed over me by General Buell toward officers under my immediate command. As to his right to command, I know nothing about it except what I have heard since. I have learned that he had no right to command me; indeed, I may say I heard it prior to his being relieved of his command, but made no complaint. I obeyed his orders as cheerfully as though he had been my superior in rank.

Question. State the name of this officer.

     C. C. Gilbert.

Question. You say the Army of the Ohio was demoralized at that time; do you know positively the state of discipline in other divisions besides your own at that time?

     I was thrown a great deal among other divisions, and found them as much, if not more, demoralized than my own.

Question. Do you know of any petition to remove General Buell from the command of the Army of the Ohio either before or after the battle of Perryville?

     I know of only one and that was never presented.

Question. What was this petition based upon?

     Simply upon the idea that those signing it did not believe General Buell was commanding the army in such a manner as to secure success for our arms.

Question. Did it make any specific charges against General Buell?

     None that I recollect except that.

Question. About how many colonels of regiments signed this petition?

     I did not count the number. Eight or ten, I suppose; perhaps more; not less, I am satisfied.

Question. Did you consider at the time that this petition was right and well founded?

     I thought it was well founded at the time.

This question being objected to by the judge-advocate, the court was cleared.

Question. Do you know the names of any officers of the rank of colonel or above that rank who signed this petition?

     Yes, sir.

Question. Will you state those names?

General James B. Steedman, Third Brigade of the First Division; Col. J. M. Harlan, commanding Second Brigade of the First Division; Colonel [James] George, commanding Second Minnesota Regiment; Col. J. M. Connell, commanding Seventeenth Ohio; Col. M.B. Walker, commanding First Brigade, First Division; Col. John T. Croxton, commanding Fourth Kentucky; Maj. D. Ward, of the Seventeenth Ohio; Lieut. Col. P.W. Lister, of the Thirty-first Ohio, and several others whose names I cannot now call to mind.

Question. Did you sign this petition?

     I decline to answer that question, sir.

Question. To whom do you consider that a general is responsible for the performance of his official duties - to his superior who places him in position or to his subordinates under his command?

     I think he is responsible to his superior and to the people of his country, the subordinate officers included.

Question. Do you think this responsibility extends to the propriety of any move he may make?

     In some instances I should think it did.

Question. How do you suppose a general should go to work to obtain the opinion of the subordinates under his command in regard to the propriety of any movement he was about to make?

     I know no other means than by consultation.

Question. To what limit do you consider the responsibility to his subordinate officers extends, going down?

       Under ordinary circumstances it is the duty of a general commanding an army to consult more especially general officers as low down as the commanders of divisions, and through them he could obtain the opinions of intelligent and well-informed officers of a lower grade. Under extraordinary circumstances there are many instances in which a general commanding an army would be greatly benefited in his movements by the consultation of officers of even the very lowest grades; and I think during the movements of our army in Kentucky there were many instances in which it would have been advisable that General Buell should have consulted the officers who were familiar with the country, and who, in my opinion, would have been of great service to him.

Question. Would it not be necessary, if the general had pursued the course you speak of in obtaining the opinions of officers of a lower grade, after consultation with higher officers, to postpone the movement until the officers of the lower grades might be consulted upon the special move about which they had no previous information?

     If it were necessary to consult a great many officers, as a matter of course the movement would have been postponed to some extent; but generally speaking it would not be necessary to consult a great many officers; and the information necessary to be obtained from those officers who were acquainted with the character of the country and the strength of any particular position could be obtained very readily and very quickly.

Question. Is there any method or manner you know of by which the commanding officer can make these subordinate officers, to whom you think he is more or less responsible, responsible for the disasters which may ensue from following their advice?

General DANA. I object to that question as irrelevant.

The court was then cleared. On being reopened the witness proceeded.

     The WITNESS. If an officer was called upon by his commanding general for information on any particular subject connected with the movements of the army, and that officer, having it in his power to give such information, should make a misrepresentation of facts, I do not see why he should not be court-martialed; but as a general thing, as I said before, I do not suppose there would be any way of reaching this officer for any disaster which might occur from following his advice.

Question. In your opinion do you consider that want of confidence which you state existed in General Buell was somewhat due to his not consulting the officers under his command enough?

     I do, sir. There seemed to be a general complaint on that subject even with the officers who in the opinion of everyone should have been consulted.

By General DANA:

Question. Within the precincts of whose corps and division was the meeting held to which you have testified?

     It was at a house not within any officer's command.

MONDAY AFTERNOON, December 22, 1862.

General FRY'S examination continued.

Cross-examined by General BUELL:

Question. How long had this scarcity of provisions lasted which you say tended in a measure to demoralize the troops?

     Our supplies were cut off some time in the month of August. While my division was stationed at Decherd we were on half rations - from that time until we reached Louisville or Bowling Green, I do not recollect which; Louisville I think.

Question. Are you able to say, general, how far this interruption of our communications was my fault?

     I cannot say how far General Buell was in fault in regard to the cutting off of supplies; but our forces were very much scattered, and at points where there was no protection to the railroads.

Question. Will you specify the positions of the troops by way of illustration on this point?

     So far as my recollection now serves me a portion of our troops were at Huntsville, a portion on the road between Huntsville and Decherd, and some few of them at Pulaski. My brigade and Colonel [M.B.] Walker's brigade were for a time at Decherd and Winchester, which is close by.  A short time after we reached Decherd the First and Second Brigades were sent to Pelham, 16 miles southeast, I think, of Decherd. General McCook was, if I recollect rightly, at Stevenson or near there. General Wood's division and the division commanded by General [Jacob] Ammen were sent to McMinnville.  I do not know what troops there were between this place and Decherd. I do not recollect the particular locality of any of the rest of the command.

Question. Is your opinion based upon the assumption that Bragg's army and Kirby Smith's - the whole rebel force in Kentucky - were concentrated at Perryville?

     Not entirely. I understood that Kirby Smith, with a portion of his army, would form a junction with Bragg at Perryville; whether true or not I am not able to say; but I believe, whether they formed it there or not, they did afterward unite their arms somewhere between that point and Lancaster.

Question. Was there anything to prevent that junction from being formed at Perryville?

     Nothing, sir, that I know of; and I think it was partly accomplished.

Question. Suppose it proved that it was not accomplished at Perryville and that the enemy deliberately planned to form a junction at Harrodsburg, would that indicate an intention to retreat from the State without another battle?

     I do not think that would indicate an intention to retreat from the State without a battle, but I think they were satisfied that they were not able to cope with our army, and that if our army had been hurled upon them at Perryville they would either have been captured or scattered to the winds. That determined the abandonment of the main object of the invasion of the State by the rebel army.

Question. Was there anything in the movements of the enemy immediately after the battle to indicate that he intended to retreat from the State?

     Their leaving their position which they held there at Perryville and moving toward Harrodsburg indicated to some extent to my mind a determination to leave the State.

Question. Why should they have moved toward Harrodsburg, supposing them to be concentrated at Perryville?

     Some of them moved toward Danville, as I understand; some toward Harrodsburg; and I suppose their object was to concentrate their forces and get them together, if possible, at Camp Dick Robinson, and move them off from there with all the provisions they had collected together. They moved in different directions to expedite their retreat as much as possible.

Question. What portion moved by Danville?

     I cannot say; I only learned that some of them did.

Question. Are you satisfied that any portion of the army marched that way?

     I have the same evidence for that which I have for the other; that is, from citizens.

Question. Were they cavalry or infantry?

     I cannot say for certain which.

Question. Would your opinion of their plans be affected by the question whether a portion of them actually moved off by Danville or whether they formed a junction with the whole force at Harrodsburg; is that a matter which would be likely to affect your opinion of their plans?

    My opinion was that at the time they left Perryville, whatever direction they went, their intention was to leave the State, and it so turned out.

Question. Do you not think that opinion is rather confirmed by the result than founded in reason at the time?

     I think there were good reasons for it. One is that If they had felt satisfied of being enabled to drive us back and hold a position which they did hold at Perryville they would never have left it, for there is no point between Louisville and the farthest point to which our army went beyond Perryville at which they could have successfully met us. Perryville was the point, and I learn that General Bragg so expressed himself.

Question. Do you know of their having selected a battle ground at Harrodsburg?

     I heard such a thing, but the fact of their abandonment shows very conclusively to my mind that they did not consider the place tenable against an army.

Question. Which army suffered most in the battle of Perryville do you think?

     From the best information I could get and from an examination of the matter the suffering was almost equal.

Question. Have you ever heard the enemy's loss estimated at 4,000 and upward in that fight?

     I have seen it stated that it is about equal to ours.  I heard various rumors as to the numbers killed, wounded, and missing on both sides, and they all seemed to corroborate the statement that the sufferings of the two armies were about equal.

Question. Do you know when the rebel army commenced their retreat from Camp Dick Robinson?

     Not exactly, save from what citizens told us. They were leaving there for some two or three days. From accounts I received I understood they commenced leaving there about the 10th or 11th of October.

Question. How far was our army, or a large portion of it, from Danville on the 10th of October?

     I think I left Perryville on the 10th.  I cannot tell how far the army was away, as I was not with it.

Question. How far is the spring which bears your name from Danville?

     It is estimated at 5 miles by the pike.

Question. What extent of ground, in miles, would the army we had at Perryville occupy?

     Judging from what I was told by those who were on the extreme right and left of our army and my knowledge of the ground it must have extended over the space of 8 to 10 miles; perhaps farther. I speak of the ground over which the enemy would have extended on the day of the battle.

Question. What extent of ground would necessarily have been required for it in camp?

     If the ground were level the army could be encamped, I suppose, in a space of half that length. If the ground were rough and uneven it would have occupied more space.

Question. Suppose it had been known that the enemy had designed to retreat by the way of Crab Orchard and that before he could do that our army was placed across his route, what course could be have pursued?

     He might possibly have pursued the course of Kentucky River Bridge. I do not know of any other way he could have got out of Camp Dick Robinson. I stated this morning that there was only one way to get out of Camp Dick Robinson, and that way was left open. He could, as I have stated, have succeeded in getting across the Kentucky River Bridge, unless pursued too hotly.

Commission adjourned to meet December 23, 1862, at 10 o'clock a.m.

NASHVILLE, Tuesday Morning, December 23, 1862.

The Commission met pursuant to adjournment. All the members present; also the judge-advocate and General Buell.

General FRY'S cross-examination continued.

By General BUELL:

Question. Who were the principal movers in the meeting which had for its object to prepare a petition for the removal of General Buell from the command of the Army of the Ohio?

     I believe I have said on that subject all that is proper to say.

The court was here cleared.

     I cannot say who first moved in it. I gave yesterday the names of some of the principal parties concerned, and that is as far as I know.

Question. Was the object of that meeting made the subject of discussion by officers within your knowledge?

     I have heard the matter discussed by those whom I have mentioned and others.

Question. Were these discussions attended by a knowledge of the facts which affect the question and had these discussions for their object to arrive at a correct understanding of it, or did they merely consist in expressions of dissatisfaction?

     I do not know what knowledge they had of the facts affecting the question. There were expressions of dissatisfaction, based on the idea that the Army of the Ohio was not properly managed.

Question. Were these discussions in public or in private?

     In one sense they might be called public and in another sense private.

Question. Were they in the presence and hearing of subordinate officers and soldiers?

     I have in some instances heard expressions of dissatisfaction in the presence of subordinate officers and soldiers, and I have heard expressions of dissatisfaction among the soldiers, without having any reference to anything said by officers.

Question. Were these murmurings concurred in or discountenanced by officers senior to those who signed the petition?

     I think that they were generally discountenanced.

Question. I put a question to you yesterday in regard to the causes of the demoralization of the troops in a form which did not express my meaning nor the idea which I wish to present to you. I now ask whether the disposition to plunder and pillage on the part of the troops was not encouraged by the popular idea, which at that time was heralded through the country, of living upon the enemy, as it is called, and regarding that as constituting a vigorous prosecution of the war?

     I cannot say that I have heard that officers endeavored to advance the idea that it was proper on the part of a soldier to plunder and pillage; on the contrary, nearly all with whom I had anything to do seemed to discountenance it.

Redirect examination by the JUDGE-ADVOCATE:

Question. You have said in response to questions asked by the Commission that a general commanding is answerable to his subordinates as he is to the people. Am I to understand from this that he is to be controlled or directed by his subordinates or that by consulting them he can in any case escape the responsibility imposed upon him by his position?

     Not at all.

Question. Do you know whether these propositions to remove officers by subordinates have been common in our army or not?

     I understand it has, sir. I know of only one instance personally; that was in the case of T. W. Sherman, when he commanded the First Division. A large number of officers waited upon General Buell and requested him in person to have us transferred to his army and to aid us in getting General Sherman removed from the command of the division, and my impression now is that General Buell told us the proper way to come at the matter was by a written petition in respectful terms. We afterward, on the same day, waited upon General Halleck, and he gave us clearly to understand that General Sherman should be removed; that he knew our troubles and difficulties, and that he would remedy them as soon as possible, having for some days had the matter under consideration. General Sherman was in a short time relieved from the command.

Question. You have been asked, general, what confidence you would have in the honor and courage of a man who pretended that he pillaged his unarmed friends because he had not an opportunity to fight a manly and armed foe. How would your confidence in that soldier be affected by the fact of marching through a country where the inhabitants were hostile and the entire army subject to continued insult and abuse from the inhabitants?

     My confidence in a soldier who was constantly insulted by the inhabitants of the country through which we were marching and who would commit depredations upon such citizens would not be greatly impaired. Although I discountenance pillage under any plea, I believe it is common with the best armies in the world.

Question. Do you not know that it is quite common in this war for the inhabitants of the country to be in arms against the forces of the United States as this force approached and then return to their usual avocations as farmers as the army goes through?

     Yes, sir; I believe it has been very common.

Question. What has been the effect upon our army, so far as demoralizing it is concerned, by giving protection and guards to rebel property?

     It has been, in my opinion, somewhat deleterious; I might say considerably so.

Question. Has not the jealous care of rebel property impressed upon our forces that our generals were really sympathizing with that side?

     I think it has to a considerable extent, sir.

By General DANA:

Question. Did you know or hear, at the time when General Buell was in command of the Army of the Ohio, of any proposition or attempt on the part of officers of his command, other than that already testified to, to depose him from the command and put General Thomas in his place?

     I know of no attempt being made to place General Thomas in command. I have heard there was an attempt, but know nothing of the truth of it.

Question. Where and at what time did you hear that this proposition was made?

     I heard it at Louisville, when we were marching back from Tennessee through Kentucky.

Question. Do you remember how you got this information?

     From rumor, sir.

By General TYLER:

Question. General, I understand that you were born in the neighborhood where the battle of Perryville was fought and that you are acquainted with that section of country thoroughly. Suppose a vigorous advance had been made early on the morning of the 9th by General Buell's army upon General Bragg's force, would not obstacles of Dick's River render it almost impossible for Bragg to pass it under the circumstances?

     I was born in that region of country and am pretty well acquainted with it. I cannot say that it would have been altogether prudent in the early part of the action to have made a vigorous attack upon General Bragg, as I understood that General Crittenden's corps had not yet gotten into position. After General Crittenden had gotten into position my opinion is that a vigorous attack ought to have been made and would have resulted in the route of Bragg's army; and that in the event of its being routed it would have been almost impossible for him to have succeeded in crossing Dick's River at the point at which I understood he had crossed. It is a rough, broken, bluffy country, and my impression is that the passage across the river at that point at which he crossed is very narrow. I mean if the victory had been followed up rapidly.

Question. At what time, general, was General Crittenden's division {corps} in position?

     I think I heard General Crittenden himself say that he was in position somewhere in the middle of the day; between 10 and 12 o'clock on the day of the battle.

By General ORD:

Question. General, you stated that the divisions of General Gilbert's corps, as far as you know, were not mismanaged at the battle of Perryville; do you know whether the divisions of Crittenden's corps were mismanaged?

     I remarked that the divisions of Generals Sheridan and Mitchell, of General Gilbert's corps, so far as I know or observed, were well managed. The First Division I thought was very badly managed, from the fact that it was kept lying still during the greater part of the day and while the heaviest portion of the fight was going on. I cannot say, for I do not know, whether General Crittenden's corps was badly managed or not.  I understood that when that corps was in position General Thomas and General Crittenden were both very anxious to advance and engage the enemy, and they seemed to be satisfied with the position of that corps. General Crittenden expressed himself in my presence as being highly delighted with the position of his corps, and said that all he desired at that time was to be allowed to advance upon the enemy.

Question. What position did your division occupy in the corps relative to the corps of General McCook; about how far from it and in what direction?

     During the greater part of the day my division was lying within a short distance of and in front of General Buell's Headquarters, and I suppose it must have been 2 miles to the rear and to the right of General McCook's corps. I understand that in the evening General Steedman's brigade was ordered to the support of General McCook, but learned that it was not allowed to go into action. This I heard from General Steedman himself. I understood from General Steedman that the battery connected with his brigade fired a few rounds.

Question. Do you know anything about the position of the enemy in front of General McCook's corps?

     I know the ground pretty well, and from what I learned they occupied a pretty strong position, where they had the advantage in the ground.

Re-cross-examination by General BUELL:

Question. When the officers of the First Division called upon General Buell at Corinth was be their commander or in a position with reference to them that would have justified him in admonishing or rebuking them?

     He was not the commander of the First Division; it was not in his corps; but I suppose, being a superior officer, he would have the right, if we were guilty of any violation of military etiquette, to admonish or rebuke us.

Question. Was not the visit rather a social and complimentary one, though having for its object that which the witness has stated?

     The visit was not intended merely as a social visit; it might be in one sense a complimentary one. We went to General Buell believing that he would give us such aid and such advice in the premises as were necessary, and he gave us the advice, according to my recollection, stated in a previous answer.

Question. Did he not decline to apply for a transfer of the division to his command, while at the same time expressing himself much gratified that they should desire to return to it?

     He did decline to use his influence to have us transferred to his command, but gave us all the advice we wanted in regard to the particular object of our visit.

Question. Did he not advise you delicately, but as pointedly as would be becoming under the circumstances, that as far as your proceeding had for its object the removal of your commander it was improper; that the same course might with equal propriety be pursued by your subordinates in reference to any and all of you; and in parting with you personally did he not say to you that he would be very much gratified to have you back again, but that you must not, as he expressed himself pleasantly, be insubordinate?

     He did express a desire to have us back in his command, and warned us not to be insubordinate, and told us that our manner of proceeding, he thought, was a little improper, and that subordinate officers might act in the same way toward us; but, as I have before stated, advised us as to the proper mode of getting our removal. We assured General Buell that there was no disposition on the part of any of us to be at all insubordinate; that what we did or what we should do in the premises should be done in the most respectful and officer-like manner.

Question. Have you ever of your own accord given protection to the property of citizens in the vicinity of your command and without troubling yourself about inquiring as to whether they were loyal or disloyal?

     I have scarcely ever been called upon by citizens for protection until my arrival at Gallatin. I there, under the direction of General Thomas, gave protection to citizens, both loyal and disloyal; but in most instances it was done when we bad taken from them all the forage and such other articles as were necessary for us, leaving only enough for the support of the family and stock during the winter. In some few instances I may have given protection when the parties had been foraged upon to the extent authorized.

Question. Will you please state, general, who they were who proposed to depose General Buell from his command and from whom you acquired the information in regard to such a purpose?

     I do not know who they were, sir; I had nothing to do with it.

Question. Can you not remember the names of those who mentioned it to you?

     No, sir.

Question. Whom did General Steedman complain of as having prevented him from going into action on the evening of the 8th, after he was detached from his division?

     I do not recollect that he named any particular person.

Question. In your answer to the question by the judge-advocate did you mean to convey the idea that General Thomas and General Crittenden complained during the day that they were not permitted to engage the enemy?

     I do not know that they complained during the day, for I was not with them but I thought from General Crittenden's conversation that he felt a little aggrieved because he was not allowed to engage the enemy, though he did not say so in so many words.

I heard General Thomas say that it was very late when he heard the fight was going on, and wondered why he had not been informed of it. He heard the artillery, and my impression now is that he said that upon inquiring as to what it meant.  The reply came that Colonel [Ebenezer] Gay was amusing himself with the rebel cavalry.

The judge-advocate proposes, in view of the movement of the Army of the Cumberland, to arrest for the present the case of the Government, reserving to himself the right hereafter to introduce further evidence: for the purpose of summoning the witnesses General Buell wishes to have examined.

parks2
Brand2

free hit counters
 

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
All Material in this Site is   © 2007-2017 Perryville Historic Battlefield
Website Designed and Maintained by GRAPHIC ENTERPRISES