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[272] like Wade, Zach Chandler and Sumner, and monsters like Thad. Stevens and Stanton, seized the opportunity to throw aside all semblance of respect for law and inaugurate a despotism of capricious and unbridled power—a veritable ‘reign of terror.’ ‘ The fortresses of the North were stuffed full of men and women, dragged from their homes at midnight or at midday, without warrant or authority or even form of law.’

One result of Ball's Bluff, or rather of the blind rage generated by it, was the appointment of ‘The Joint Congressional Committee on the Conduct of the War,’ a standing menace to all generals, who would not disgrace the profession of arms by sacrificing their convictions of duty to senseless clamor — which tried and degraded officers upon testimony that would not have been accepted by Dogberry. A victim and scapegoat was needed to appease the popular wrath, and, at the instance of this committee, General Stone became the vicarious sacrifice for Baker's blunders. He was arrested by order of Stanton about two o'clock one morning in Washington, by a posse of the provost marshal's force, and sent to Fort Lafayette, and kept in close confinement for six months, with no more knowledge of the charges against him than if he had been a prisoner in the Tower or Bastile.

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Stanton (2)
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