JCCW – Col. Stephen G. Champlin

31 05 2009

Testimony of Col. Stephen G. Champlin

Report on the Conduct of the War, Vol. 2, p. 49

WASHINGTON, December 30, 1861.

Colonel STEPHEN G. CHAMPLIN sworn and examined.

By Mr. Chandler:

Question. You were in the fight at Blackburn’s Ford on the Thursday before Bull Run, were you not?

Answer. Yes, sir.

Question. What was your opinion in regard to the capture of that battery, if you had been supported?

Answer. I think with one brigade in addition to prevent them from out-flanking us we could have taken it.

Question. Without heavy loss?

Answer. Yes, sir; we could have taken it at the point of the bayonet easy enough if we had had another brigade there. That was the way to have taken it.

Question. Then would you have had a severe battle on Friday morning, do you think?

Answer. My opinion is that that was the key of the position at that time.

Question. Would that have ended the matter?

Answer. Yes, sir; I think so. There would have been no battle at Stone Bridge, for we would have been in a position to have out-flanked them at Manassas. Every body of troops they threw up to the Stone Bridge would have been too far on their left.

By Mr. Gooch:

Question. You think those batteries should have been taken before pressing further on?

Answer. I think so. If we attacked the batteries at all at Blackburn’s Ford we should have taken them and held them, for that was their centre at that time. They never could then have fought the battle at Stone Bridge, for we could have marched over the bridge and captured every man there. I think that on Thursday their forces in those batteries were light compared with what they were on Sunday. They saw there were demonstrations made at it, and they were apparently prepared to meet them.

By Mr. Odell:

Question. Were you in the Bull Run fight?

Answer. No, sir; we remained at the hill overlooking Blackburn’s Ford to hold those batteries. If we had not held them they would have crossed over there and cut General McDowell’s army all to pieces.

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