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[311] as I understand, has never been able to believe that I did not have his house burned, and he bases his conviction on a conversation I had with some gentlemen from Hagerstown, in which I stated that if the house had been burned by some of my men, the act would have been fully justified by the burning in their own counties of many private residences by General Hunter, whose ruins they had seen when marching down the Valley. This expression seems to have been misconstrued into an admission that the act was my own. I have no disposition to evade the responsibility for any of my acts during the war, and I certainly did have the iron works of Mr. Thaddeus Stevens burned in 1863, and the town of Chambersburg was burned by my orders in 1864 as an act of retaliation, after a refusal to comply with a demand upon the town for compensation for some burning that General Hunter had done within the limits of my command.

I also levied contributions on the towns of York, Pa., in 1863, and Frederick, Md., in 1864. All these acts were in accordance with the laws of war, and if I had ordered the burning of Blair's house I would not now seek to evade the responsibility. To give some idea of the odds I had against me when I was in front of Washington in July, 1864, I here give an abstract of the return of General Sheridan's force in the Valley in August, 1864. This is taken from the Adjutant General's Office in Washington, and it is either for the 20th or 31st of August, as to which I am not informed. It is as follows: Return of Middle Military Department, General P. H. Sheridan commanding: The latest August return, 1864, shows in the field--

General Crook's command, present for duty21,006
General Wright's command, present for duty11,956
General Emory's command, present for duty12,504
General Torbert's cavalry, present for duty8,502
 
Total53,968

General Crook's command was that which Hunter had concentrated at Harper's Ferry when I was in front of Washington; General Wright's was the Sixth Corps, two-thirds of which (two divisions) would amount to 7,970; General Emory's was the Nineteenth Corps, one-half of which would be over 6,000; so that there arrived in Washington at or before the time of my arrival in front of it at least 14,000 men from Grant's army, while a force of over 20,000 men was in my rear at Harper's Ferry. I may say here that I endeavored to get the returns of Sheridan's forces for September and October, when occurred the principal engagements between our forces, but was informed that there were no returns of his on file in the Adjutant-General's office for either


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