Finding of the Court in the Court-Martial of Fitz John Porter

WASHINGTON, D.C., January 10, 1863

        The court met pursuant to adjournment.
        Present, Maj. Gen. D. Hunter, U.S. Volunteers; Maj. Gen. E. A. Hitchcock, U.S. Volunteers; Brig. Gen. Rufus King, U. S. Volunteers; Brig. Gen. B. M. Prentiss, U.S. Volunteers; Brig. Gen. James B. Ricketts, U.S. Volunteers; Brig. Gen. Silas Casey, U.S. Volunteers; Brig. Gen. James A. Garfield, U.S. Volunteers; Brig. Gen. N. B. Buford, U.S. Volunteers; Brig. Gen. J.P. Slough, U.S. Volunteers; and Col. J. Holt, Judge-Advocate-General.
        The accused, with his counsel, was also present.
        The minutes of the last session were then read and approved.
        The accused then presented a written address (marked "Defense of Accused," and appended hereto), which was read by his counsel in his defense. The judge-advocate then submitted the case to the court with the following remarks:
        I will simply remark that this case has been thoroughly and most patiently investigated. A continuous session of some forty-five days sufficiently attests this. Indeed, the greater part of the evidence touching the more important and the more severely contested points has, by re-examination and cross-examination, been again and again impressed upon your minds, so that I now feel entirely satisfied that it is completely comprehended and appreciated by you in all its bearings.
        Whatever, therefore, of inaccuracies of interpretation of testimony, and whatever of illogical deduction from it, may have found a place in the very elaborate defense of the accused, which has been read, may be safely left for their correction to the recollection and judgment of the court.
        To prepare a written reply, in keeping with the gravity of this proceeding, to the argument of the accused, would require several days, thus involving a delay which it is most important to avoid. From this consideration, and from the urgent demand which exists for the services of members of this court in other and more active fields of duty, it is felt that the public interests will be best subserved by asking, as I now do, that you will proceed at once to deliberate upon and determine the issues which are before you.
        The court was thereupon cleared for deliberation, and having maturely considered the evidence adduced, find the accused, Maj. Gen. Fitz John Porter, of United States Volunteers, as follows:

Of the 1st specification of 1st CHARGE, " Guilty."

Of the 2d specification of 1ST CHARGE, "Guilty."

Of the 3d specification of 1ST CHARGE, "Guilty."

Of the 4th specification of 1ST CHARGE, "Not guilty."

Of the 5th specification of 1ST CHARGE, " Not guilty."

Of the 1st CHARGE, "Guilty."

Of the 1st specification of 2D CHARGE, "Guilty," except so much of the specification as implies that he, the accused," did retreat from advancing forces of the enemy," after the receipt of the order set forth in said specification.

Of the 2d specification of 2D CHARGE, "Guilty."

Of the 3d specification of 2D CHARGE, "Guilty," except the words "to the Manassas Junction."

Of the 2d CHARGE, "Guilty."

And the court do therefore sentence him, Maj. Gen. Fitz John Porter, of the United States Volunteers, to be cashiered, and to be forever disqualified from holding any office of trust or profit under the Government of the United States.

D. HUNTER,
Major-General, President.

J. HOLT,
Judge-Advocate.

        There being no further business before them, the court adjourned sine die.

D. HUNTER,
Major-General, President.

J. HOLT,
Judge-Advocate.

Indorsements

HEADQUARTERS OF THE ARMY,
Washington, January 13, 1863.

        In compliance with the Sixty-fifth Article of War, these whole proceedings are transmitted to the Secretary of War to be laid before the President of the United States.

H. W. HALLECK,
General-in-Chief.

JANUARY 21, 1863.

        The foregoing proceedings, findings, and sentence in the foregoing case of Maj. Gen. Fitz John Porter are approved and confirmed, and it ordered that the said Fitz John Porter be, and he hereby is, cashiered and dismissed from the service of the United States as a major-general of volunteers, and as colonel and brevet brigadier-general in the regular service of the United States, and forever disqualified from holding any office of trust or profit under the Government of the United States.

ABRAHAM LINCOLN.

Source:  Official Records of the War of the Rebellion

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