Done, But Not Done-Done

29 10 2008

OK, I’ve posted my last Bull Run after action report (OR).  #62 was the last Union report – #63 is actually the findings of the Dixon Miles court of inquiry

You may have inferred from the reports of Richardson and Davies that there was something hinky with Miles’s behavior on the 21st.  He was prescribed some brandy by his doctor that day, and he was unfortunately wearing two hats at the same time.  No, I mean that literally.  It was not uncommon practice to wear two hats on a hot day – something about ventilation.  But Miles had a reputation for hitting the bottle, so combine his medicinal use that day with possible augmentation on his part, two hats, and some less than rational directions to subordinates in the field, and the evidence mounts up.  Kinda sorta cleared by the court of inquiry, Miles went on leave of absence, awaiting orders from July 26, 1861 until March 8, 1862.  I’ll try to track down more information on the court of inquiry and post it here.

The ORs aren’t done-done, as Miracle Max might say.  I’ll get around to putting up the Blackburn’s Ford reports.  And of course there is all that correspondence to get through.  But it’s nice to have one thing wrapped up, finally.

Findings of the Miles Court of Inquiry

29 10 2008

Findings of Court of Inquiry on conduct of Col. Dixon S. Miles, Second U. S. Infantry, Commanding Fifth Division, at Battle of Bull Run

O.R.– SERIES I–VOLUME 2 [S# 2] — CHAPTER IX, pp. 438-439



Washington, November 6, 1861

A court of inquiry, instituted by Special Orders, No. 67, of August 10, 1861 [following] from headquarters Department Northeastern Virginia,. upon the application of Col. D. S. Miles, Second Infantry, to examine into certain allegations made against him as stated in his letter to the assistant adjutant-general at the headquarters of said department, dated July 26, 1861, did, after mature deliberation upon the testimony adduced, agree upon the following


1. That Col. I. B. Richardson was justified in applying the term drunkenness to Col. D. S. Miles’ condition about 7 o’clock p.m. on the 21st July last.

2. That the evidence is clear that Colonel Miles had been ill for several days before July 21 last – was ill on that day; that the surgeon had prescribed medicines for him, and on the day of the battle had prescribed for him small quantities of brandy.

The court, however, considers his illness as a very slight extenuation of the guilt attached to his condition about 7 p.m. on July 21 last.


The court is of opinion that evidence cannot now be found sufficient to convict Colonel Miles of drunkenness before a court-martial; that a proper court could only be organized in this Army with the greatest inconvenience at present, and that it will not be for the interests of the service to convene a court in this case.

The court is therefore of opinion that no further proceedings in the case are necessary.

II. The proceedings of the court of inquiry in the case of Col. D. S. Miles, Second Infantry, have been laid before the major-general commanding, and are confirmed.

By command of Major-General McClellan:


Assistant Adjutant-General




Arlington, August 10, 1861

Upon the application of Col. D. S. Miles, Second Infantry, a court of inquiry is hereby instituted to examine into certain allegations made against him, as stated in his letter to the assistant adjutant-general, headquarters Department N. E. Virginia, dated July 26, 1861.

The court will meet at 12 m., on Monday, the 12th instant, or as soon thereafter as practicable, in Alexandria, Va., and will report the facts and give its opinion in the case.

Detail for the court.

Brig. Gen. W. B. Franklin, U.S. Volunteers.

Col. John Sedgwick, First Cavalry.

Capt. Truman Seymour, First Artillery.

The junior member will record the proceedings.

By command of Brigadier-General McDowell:


Assistant  Adjutant-General

#62 – Col. William R. Montgomery

29 10 2008

Report of Col. William R. Montgomery, First New Jersey Infantry

O.R.– SERIES I–VOLUME 2 [S# 2] — CHAPTER IX, pp. 437-438

NEAR FORT ALBANY, VA., July 23, 1861

SIR: I have the honor to report that, by instructions of Brigadier-General Runyon, commanding Fourth Division, Northeastern Virginia, with fifteen companies, seven of the First (my own), and eight of the Second (McLean’s) New Jersey Volunteers, I left Vienna and marched to join you at Centreville. On the march we encountered your retreating forces, which, by personal authority, exertions of officers, men, and the bayonet, we endeavored, though ineffectually, to rally and turn back. We took position in rear of your camps and immediately in front of the enemy, then proceeded in person to your headquarters, and received your instructions to assume command of my own and McLean’s regiments, and hold our position. On sending for the latter regiment it was ascertained it had retired and was on the retreat, and continued to do so, for reasons doubtless its colonel will duly explain.

About 2 o’clock in the morning, having ascertained that the forces had retreated, and my command left entirely unsupported, I deemed it proper to retire, leaving your hospitals in charge of Surgeon Taylor, of my regiment, who nobly volunteered for that purpose with my sanction, to the mercy of the enemy.

I kept on and covered the rear of our retreating forces till we reached Fairfax Court-House, when, finding a regiment encamped but preparing to take up its march, I notified its commander he would be in rear, and the probability of the enemy’s Black Cavalry annoying him. We continued our march in rear of other forces, finally joined and escorted Hunt’s battery to this point, where, during the storm of yesterday, I disposed of my regiment as I best could. When we marched from Vienna four companies, two of each regiment, were on detached duty, and one other was left to hold the place till the former companies should return, then the whole to proceed to join us. They marched accordingly, but were met on the way and turned back, and those of the Second joined us here. To-day we are employed in getting in our camp equipage from Camp Trenton.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Colonel, Commanding First Regiment New Jersey Volunteers

Brig. Gen. I. McDOWELL,

Commanding Federal Forces