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[461] to exist, instead of in strict obedience to General Pope's orders. He said that that was not the case; that he had not even literally disobeyed orders; that in so far as he had acted upon his own judgment, he had loyally done all that could be done to carry out General Pope's wishes; and that all he wanted was an opportunity to prove such to be the facts. I replied that if he could prove what he stated beyond question, he would of course have a case worthy of consideration—not otherwise. Nothing was said in respect to the facts or the evidence in contravention of the judgment of the court-martial which tried him. Hence, beyond that above stated, I had no knowledge of his case when the board of review, of which I was president, met in 1878 to hear the new evidence; and I believe neither of the other members of the board—Generals A. H. Terry and George W. Getty—was any better informed.

The duty of the board was very different from that of a court-martial appointed to try an original case. The accused had already been tried and convicted. He was not to have a new trial. He could not have any benefit whatever of any doubt that might exist after all the evidence, old and new, had been duly considered. He must prove his innocence positively, by absolutely convincing evidence, or else the original judgment of the courtmar-tial must stand. This view of the issue was fully accepted by General Porter and his counsel. This caused a new and peculiar duty to devolve upon the board—at least it was so to me; that is, to find, if possible, some view of all the evidence, or of all the facts established by the evidence, that could be regarded as consistent with the theory or supposition that Porter was guilty.

When the evidence was all in, the members of the board separated for several weeks to let each examine all the evidence and reach his own conclusion, to be presented in form at the next meeting of the board. I believe I devoted more earnest work to the examination

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Fitz-John Porter (2)
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