Testimony of Lt. Charles E. Hazlitt
Report on the Conduct of the War, Vol. 2, pp. 218-219
WASHINGTON, January 28, 1862.
Lieutenant CHARLES E. HAZLITT sworn and examined.
By Mr. Gooch:
Question. What is your rank in the army?
Answer. First lieutenant of artillery.
Question. Where are you now stationed?
Answer. On Minor’s Hill, over in Virginia.
Question. Were you at the battle of Bull Run?
Answer. Yes, sir.
Question. Were you in Griffin’s battery?
Answer. Yes, sir.
Question. What was your rank then?
Answer. The same as now.
Question. Can you tell what led to the loss of Griffin’s and Ricketts’ batteries in that battle?
Answer. As far as I am able to judge, it was in consequence of the battery being sent to such an advanced position without any support.
Question. Will you give us the particulars of the loss of that battery—what occurred just previous to the loss of it, and at the time?
Answer. I do not know what occurred just at the moment of the loss, as just before the time the battery was put in position they changed and took up the position where they were lost. Another officer and myself stayed where we were in order to get away two guns that were left there; one had two horses killed, and we had to send for horses; and another one that had a wheel which was broken, and we were engaged in putting on a spare wheel, so that we were not with the battery in the last position. All that I know is that we had been in action some time, and I understood that there was an order for us to move the battery forward up on a little hill where there was a house. I do not know who the order came from. I only knew we were to go there. The officers of the batteries were all averse to going there, as before that we had had no infantry with us that was put there as our support. We were told to go up to this place. We talked about having to go there for some time; and I know it was some time after I was told that we had an order to go that we had not gone. I heard Captain Griffin say that it was no use, and we had to go. We started to go up on this hill. I was in advance of the battery, leading the way, and I had to turn off to a little lane to go to the top of the hill. Just as we turned off the lane in the field, an officer of the enemy on horseback appeared about 100 paces in front. As he saw us turn in, he turned around and beckoned to some one on other side of the hill, and we supposed the enemy were just on the other side of the hill waiting for us, as they had been there just before. An officer hallooed up to me and said we were not to go there, that we had to go to another hill to the right, which was the place we had spoken of going to, where we wished to be sent instead of to the other position. We then started off towards the hill on the right, but I do not think we had got more than half-way up the hill when I was told to go back to the hill we had started for first. We then went back there and came into position. We had been in action there for some time; the fire was exceedingly hot; and being in such close range of the enemy we were losing a great many men and horses. We were in full relief on top of the hill, while they were a little behind the crest of the hill. We presented a better mark for them than they did for us. I do not think there was any order to move the battery around to the right of the little house on the hill. I remember asking Captain Griffin if I could not move the piece I was firing to another place, as it was getting almost too hot there, and I wanted to go to the left. The enemy had just got the range of my gun, and I wanted to move it out of range. The captain said I could do so. And then it is my impression that I asked him if we had better not move the whole battery away from there, as they had got our range so well. And then we started to move. Lieutenant Kensel and myself stayed back to get away the two guns I spoke of. .Just after we got them started off we saw the battery in this other place flying all around, and the horses with the caissons running in every direction. That was the time the battery was lost, but we were not there at the time.
Question. Did you see the regiment that fired at the battery when it was lost?
Answer. No, sir.
Question. You know nothing of the loss of the battery further than you have stated?
Answer. That is all.
Question. You do not know who gave Captain Griffin the order to move forward?
Answer. No, sir.
Question. And nothing of any orders given after that?
Answer. No, sir; only what I have stated that we had orders to go up to his place. We put it off for some time and it was repeated.