occurred during the march are attributable to the failure on the part of this brigade to respond to my commands. You will find the testimony sufficiently clear on this point; although, I regret to say, the court denied my request to summon and examine two of the colonels commanding regiments in the Third brigade, who allege that their commanding officer gave them no orders, and was not seen by them on the field. Notwithstanding this unfortunate occurrence at the critical moment of my retreat, by which my plans were somewhat thwarted, out of the six thousand nine hundred brave and effective men who started from Winchester, upward of six thousand have been ascertained by General Schenck to be now on duty. Upward of two thousand men have been paroled by the enemy; but these consist of the sick and disabled who were left at Winchester, in addition to those who were taken in the engagement on the morning of the retreat. A great misapprehension has existed in the public mind, and has been promoted by reckless correspondents of the public press, in reference to the amount of public property abandoned and lost on the retreat from Winchester. You will see by the testimony that the stores on hand were extremely small. My ammunition was nearly exhausted, the men were on half-rations, and a large portion of the wagons had already been sent away in pursuance of my orders, to be prepared for evacuation. It was my intention, and orders were given accordingly, to keep always on hand five days supply of ammunition and subsistence. Fortunately the latest requisitions of my ordnance officer, for some reason unknown to me, had not been filled, and even this small amount was saved to the Government. If the investigation made by the Court of Inquiry has not been full and satisfactory upon all points, it is not from any deficiency on my part. Anxious to lay open the whole transaction, even to its minutiae, I earnestly urged the Court to summon and examine many other officers, who bore a conspicuous part in the retreat from Winchester, as well as others who could throw light on the general subject. The Court refused to grant my application, doubtless because they were satisfied that I had made my justification complete. I think I may assume that no Court would refuse to hear the testimony of some of the principal actors in the events under examination, so long as any room for censure remained against him who desired additional evidence. So far, I may have no right to complain of the decision of the Court; but in another rejected application, I think I have. At the commencement of the investigation, immediately upon the organization of the Court, the General-in-Chief of the army sent in, as testimony, copies of several telegrams, addressed by him to Major-General Schenck, in which he speaks of me most disrespectfully and unjustly, and with imputations not true in fact. I asked the Court to summon Major-General Halleck; and as they required a statement of what a witness was expected to prove, I filed the paper, which, with others of the same kind, will be found appended to this letter. These papers were all indorsed and returned to me, as will be seen, with a refusal to hear the testimony. If it was admissible for the General-in-Chief to introduce his telegrams, charging me at some time with having been “on a stampede,” it was certainly legitimate for me to call that officer, and inquire the occasion to which he referred, in order that I might prove, as I certainly could, the falsity of his information. The imputation conveyed in the words of Gen. Halleck, and perpetuated in the record of this Court, is highly disreputable to a soldier; and the most obvious principles of justice require that I should be permitted to refute it. If the substance of these telegrams be not a proper subject of investigation by the Court, then the introduction of them was calculated to serve no other purpose but to create a prejudice, and do me a wrong which I could have no opportunity to repel. In another telegram put in evidence before the Court, I am charged with “madness” by the General-in-Chief, for sending part of my forces on a certain expedition in the valley. I could easily show that this “madness” would have resulted in the capture of the enemy's camp, with a large amount of supplies, which had been left exposed by the withdrawal of his forces into Western Virginia. But this affair had no connection with the evacuation of Winchester, and the incorporation of this telegram into the record is calculated unjustly to injure my reputation, without serving any public purpose. In another telegram, likewise made a part of the record, I am charged with a failure to protect the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad at Harper's Ferry, when I never had any command there; also with incompetency in this respect, when, with my forces at Winchester, I successfully guarded that road for six months, so that during that period the enemy never touched it, within the limits of my command. Gen. Halleck's telegram, of the fifteenth June, containing another ungenerous thrust at me, might well have been omitted from the record, inasmuch as it was written after the evacuation, and could not have the slightest bearing on the investigation. But it is quite as legitimate as the others, its only possible effect being to throw into the scale against me the weight of General Halleck's personal enmity. On the twenty-seventh of June last, I was placed in arrest by order of the General-in-Chief. No charges have been preferred against me, unless the splenetic and censorious telegrams of that officer, above referred to, can be considered such. Since the commencement of this war, no officer of my rank has been subjected to the indignity of an arrest, without the exhibition of charges to justify it. I have not yet been relieved from this arrest; and the peculiar phraseology of the articles of war seems to render it doubtful whether the expiration of the time limited for making charges operates to give me that relief. I entered the army at the beginning
This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.
An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.