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[38] that desperate and unequal fight. I have seen scarcely any mention of them, and yet the One Hundred and Twenty-second, One Hundred and Twenty-third, and One Hundred and Tenth Ohio were all in the thickest of the fight, charged the enemy repeatedly, and came out in good order, but with heavy loss. Why, the whole three regiments are not now as large as any one of them before the fight. Colonel Washburn, of the One Hundred and Sixteenth Ohio, deserves all credit for the good order with which he brought off his regiment. While you might have seen some colonels and majors straggling hither and thither, the whole field and staff of the One Hundred and Sixteenth Ohio came through as they should. Thus it will be seen that Ohio did take some part in the fight. The One Hundred and Sixteenth Ohio had three companies completely destroyed; while the other three Ohio regiments took the most conspicuous places in the fight.

J. M. D.


Letter to the President of the United States,

Explanatory of the Evidence before the Court of Inquiry relative to the Evacuation of Winchester, Va., by the Command of Major-General R. H. Milroy.
To His Excellency Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States:
sir: Under Special Order No. 346, from the War Department, a court of inquiry was detailed, by your authority, “to inquire into the facts and circumstances connected with the recent evacuation of Winchester.” This order was subsequently so amended as to make it the duty of the court to report the facts without expressing any opinion upon them.

As I was in command of the forces which evacuated Winchester, my reputation and usefulness may be affected by the result of this investigation. Right and justice, therefore, require that you the Commander-in-Chief of the army of the United States, should read the brief remarks which I now have the honor to submit, in explanation of the testimony taken before the Court of Inquiry.

The evacuation of Winchester took place about two o'clock, on the morning of Monday, June fifteenth, 1863, and “the facts and circumstances” connected with that event were all comprised within the three preceding days, beginning with Friday, the twelfth.

Whether Winchester was or was not an important post, was a question not submitted to my judgment. It was determined by my superior officer, whose orders it was my duty to obey.

The orders received by me on Friday morning, June twelfth, 1863, from Major-General Schenck, my immediate commander, were as follows: “You will make all required preparations for withdrawing, but hold your position in the mean time. Be ready for movement, but await further orders,”

This emphatic command irresistibly implied that, in case of necessity, further orders would be given; and it now appears, by the testimony of Major-Gen. Schenck, that on Saturday night he did attempt to give me the proper orders; but as the lines had been cut, the despatch was not received. Gen. Schenck testifies distinctly that I did not disobey any of his commands.

In the same order above quoted, Gen. Schenck further says: “I doubt the propriety of calling in McReynolds's brigade at once. If you should fall back to Harper's Ferry, he will be in part on your way, and cover your flank. But use your discretion as to any order to him.” In the exercise of this discretion, I ordered Col. McReynolds, on Saturday morning, June thirteenth, to join me at Winchester. At this time there was no information of the approach of Lee's forces, nor any thought of evacuating the post. The object was to concentrate, in order to repel an attack either of the forces under Imboden, Jones, and Jenkins, or of Stuart's cavalry, then expected to appear in the valley. Colonel McReynolds left Berryville on the morning of the thirteenth, and, by a circuitous route of thirty miles, reached Winchester about ten o'clock that night. In the mean time, at about six o'clock that afternoon, I learned from prisoners and deserters that Ewell's and Longstreet's corps of Lee's army were in front of me. This was the first intimation I had received of the fact, and it brought to my mind, for the first time, the consideration of the necessity of evacuating the post. To have left with my forces before the arrival of Col. McReynolds would have exposed the whole Third brigade to capture, and would certainly have brought me into conflict with the <*>y in the absence of one third of my command. Thus divided, my forces would have been destroyed or captured in detail. The enemy had followed Colonel McReynolds in force, and on the same day had attached our forces at Bunker's Hill, on the Martinsburgh road.

My line of communication with Major-General Schenck was not cut until some time on Saturday evening. Down to that moment he could at any time have ordered me to retreat, and might have communicated any information which he deemed important. As his orders of the day before were not changed in any particular, while it was all the time in his power to have modified them, I had the continuing command of my superior officer to remain at Winchester, at least down to the time when communication by telegraph was cut off.

Every thing is necessarily left to the discretion of a commander when suddenly and unexpectedly surrounded on all sides by the enemy in overwhelming force, and with no orders adapted to the emergency. Colonel McReynolds found the Berryville road occupied by the enemy on Saturday, so that he could not march directly to Wincester. He had been followed also on his circuitous route, and the enemy was probably on the Martinsburgh road. It is doubtful whether I could have marched by either of those roads on Saturday night without a serious engagement under great disadvantages. But even if I could have done so, I did not and could not know why


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