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HEADQUARTERS THIRD DIVISION, NINTII ARMY CORPS,
July 5, 1864—8 p. m. Colonel RICHMOND, Assistant Adjutant-General:
COLONEL: I have the honor to report that there has been unusual activity in rear of the rebel lines toward the Clarke house to-day, and some digging. They have opened also two new mortars about opposite my center.
O. B. WILLCOX,
HEADQUARTERS CAVALRY CORPS,
July 5, 1864. Lient. Col. T. S. BOWERS,
Assistant Adjutant- General, Hdqrs. Armies in the Field: COLONEL: I have the honor to forward the reports* of the chief quartermaster and chief commissary of subsistence, Cavalry Corps, in reference to condition of supplies at White House on the arrival of my command at that place. My command reached the White House on the evening of the 20th. I found that the rebel cavalry had shelled the place in front of White House Landing fron: the high bluff in the direction of Tunstall's Station with from six to eight pieces, but no other demonstration was made. General Abercrombie, in command, informed me when I called to see him that the enemy was constructing rifle-pits on the bluft's surrounding the White House. I therefore crossed one division of cavalry, dismounted, at 2 o'clock on the morning of the 21st, directing it to attack the enemy on the Tunstall's Station road, and held the other division mounted and ready to cross. ritle-pits were found on the bluffs and only the pickets of the enemy. I then crossed the other division. The enemy's two divisions of cavalry were found at Tunstall's and along the west bank of Black Creek, the whole forcé collecting at Tunstall's while I was getting over the horses of the dismounted division. During the night they retreated in great haste to Bottom's Bridge, followed up by small parties of our cavalry. On the morning of the 22d 1 sent Torbert's division to Jones? Bridge to secure the crossing and got there first, having the short line. I then brought the train across the river, in all over 800 wagons, and was then ready to move. The forage arrived about the same time in great abundance; the subsistence not until 9 or 10 o'clock at night. I had to wait for it and did not get off with the advance of the train until 2 o'clock on the morning of the 23d. This is the delay I referred to in my dispatch. I believe every exertion was made to get this subsistence up on the part of all concerned and especially by General Getty, as soon as he found supplies were short.
P. II. SHERIDAN, Major-General, Commanding.
HEADQUARTERS SECOND DIVISION, CAVALRY CORPS,
July 5, 1861. Col. J. I. GREGG,
('ommanding Second Brigade, Neroni Dirision: COLONEL: You will at once send all the dismounted men of your brigade, with their arms and such horse equipments as they may have
Not found as inclosures.
in their possession, to report at the cavalry depot commanded by Major Beaumont. A commissioned officer will be sent in charge of these meni, taking with him a list of names, giving regiment and company of all men in his charge. Having performed this duty the officer will report back to his brigade. It is important that your dismounted men be sent to the depot at once in order that they may be remounted at once. , Let every dismounted man be sent at this time. Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
11. C. WEIR, Captain and Assistant Adjutant-General.
HEADQUARTERS THIRD DIVISION, CAVALRY CORPS,
Light-House Point, Va., July 5, 1861. Brig. Gen. S. WILLIAMS,
Assistant Adjutant-General, Army of the Potomac : GENERAL: In reply to your communication of July 4,* touching certain allegations in the Richmond Examiner of July 2, I have the honor to submit the following, though I can scarcely realize that either my own conduct or that of my command has been seriously arraigned upon charges made in a journal notoriously venal and unscrupulous in its efforts to sustain the cause of the public enemy: It is not strạnge that General Lee, the Confederate Government, or the people of the rebellious States, should be dissatisfied with the system of raids instituteil against their railroads, but if the major-general commanding has any, canse of complaint against the management of the expedition" which I bave had the honor of conducting, I most respectfully reqiiest that the · proper official investigation be instituted at once. While I cannot commend the conduct of my men in all cases as necessary, or strictly in accordance with the usages of civilized warfare, every means was taken by myself and subordinate commanders to keep it strictly within those bounds. I can safely say further, no man in my command has ever received any part of his education in lawlessness from me. The inajorgeneral commanding will not fail to remember that my troops were gone ten days, and during half that time were compelled to subsist upon the country. In regard to this necessity (which no one regretter more than myself) my orders were that everything needed by the command should be taken under the supervision of the provost-marshal, as provided subsequently in General Orders, No. 24, June 27;t and while I would not restrict my troops in anything that would be useful to them or beneficial to the enemy, I would severely punish all housebreaking, pillaging, and lawlessness. I regret exceedingly that copies of my orders and instructions on this subject were captured with other papers iu the desk of my hearlquarters, but if General Lee is as prompt to do justice to the character of his enemy as the press of the South is to blacken it by every infamous charge, he will publish the orders in question. I inclose herewith the certificates of my adjutant-general, inspertor-general, provost-marshal, and staff officers, from which it will be seen that not only were all practicable exertions made to keep my command in proper bounds, but that even instructions in communication of July 4, directing a special inspection, as well as proper steps to carry ont provisions of General Orders, No. 24, had been already anticipateil six or seven days. I shall also forward the statements of my division and brigade commanders upon the subject, in order that the commanding general may fully understand it. It may not be amiss to
See Part II, p. 632,
See Part II, p. 465.
OPERATIONS IN SE, VA, AND N. (
state that no one is more disgusted with the unlawful acts of lawless meu than I am, but justice to my command impels me to add that while frequent enough they are vastly exaggerated in kind and number. I believe that there exists in our «avalry service an organized band of thieves, who are under no restraint whatever, and who have been skillful enough so far to elude every attempt at arrest; but with out discussing how far this state of facts may be common to all other branches of the service, in this and other armies, I am determined if possible to break up the organization and to establish a compulsory condition of morals different from that usually found among troops. I have heard vague rumors—in one iustance of plate having been taken, and of several where money was stolen. The statement of Captain French will show what my action was in such cases. Rape, wanton insult to women, nor brutal conduct of any kind I am confident can be truthfully charged against my command. Mules, horses, forage, and provisions were taken whenever found or needed, and although this may have been oppressive to the people from whom they were taken, they were quite beneficial to my troops, and conduced in no small degree to the success of the expedition in which they were engaged. Finally, permit me to say I believe no expedition of the kind was ever conducted with less improper conduct on the part of the men and officers than characterized the one so hotly denounced by the rebel newspapers. Hoping that the major-general commanding may become convinced of this, and that he will be slow to condemn my command because it has excited the ire of the public enemy, I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
JAS. H. WILSON,
(Inclosure No. 1.1
CIRCULAR. JIDORS. THIRD DIVISION, CAVALRY CORPS,
June 21, 1861. To prevent all straggling, marauding, and piltering by this command on the coming march, it is enjoined upon all cominanding officers to use every effort to see the existing orders and regulations on this subjert strictly enforced. Regimental and brigade rear guards, under commissioner officers, will be established and will prevent all falling out of the ranks, watering horses without orders, and independent and disorderly proceedings of every kind. Canteens must be filled before starting or at halts, itud upon no condition will the men be allowed to leave the ranks for this purpose while the column is moving. Only orderlies from regimental, brigade, or division headquarters will be permitted to pass up and down the column, and then only when on duty, All foraging for animals and provisions will be done by organized parties under officers of the respective staff departments. All delays in the column will be regulated and distance regained as much as possible at a walk. Should any part of the command be delayed seriously word will at once be sent to the head of the column. As the expedition upon which the commanıl is engaged is of great importance, it is expected that all movements will be made with the greatest prompti ; tude and celerity, and that commanding officers will enjoin upon officers and men the necessity for industry, patient endurance, and good conduct. By command of Brigadier-General Wilson:
RR- VOL XL, PT III
(Inclosure No. 2.)
ut YT ON
cts of his
July 6, 1861.
Assistant Adjutant-General. determin
compresi ng titi bent
DIVISION INSPECTOR'S OFFICE,
July 5, 1861, Capt. L. SIEBERT, forage.
Assistant Adjutant-General, Third Div., Caralry Corps : CAPTAIN: For the information of the brigadier-general commanding this division I have the honor to submit the following report with reference to the order and conduct of this command, so far as my observation extended, during the time from the morning of the 22d of June to the 2d instant throughout the late expedition: The division moved from camp near Mount Sinai Church at 2 a. m. on the 22d of June, and proceeded across the railroads south of Petersburg to Ford's Station, on the Danville and Petersburg Railroad, destroying the communication by rail and telegraph npon the Norfolk and the weldon railroads; also destroying a portion of the track and all public buildings. At Ford's Station the destruction began in an extensive manner. The track and all pubhc buildings and property were effectually destroyed along the line of railroad so far as the expedition proceeded. Every exertion on my part was made throughout the division to correct any violation of orders or disorder in the line of march. Much straggling was constantly observed and reported to the commanding officer of the division, and as straggling is the first step and the most prominent one toward other irregularities in a command upon a march, other violations might have occurred without being exposed to the notice of the division commander, or that of any other officer whose duty it was to correct them. Repeated verbal orders were given by the general commanding in Tegard to the regularity of the command. The division provost-mar
shal was actively engaged in the performance of his duties, but without filled by a greater exertion on the part of the respective brigade and regimental
commanders to prevent violations of orders it was impossible for him
A. P. RUSSELL,
on this under
illing nt alia
irtance. St PIVE
[Inclosure No. 3.1
July 5, 1864. I certify upon honor that as provost-marshal of the Third Division, Cavalry Corps, upon the late raid, orders were given me by BrigadierGeneral Wilson, commanding division, to use my whole energy and the force at my command to prevent the taking and destroying of private property. 'Guards were stationed at nearly every house along the line of march by myself and by provost-marshals of brigades, who also employed their whole force in preventing straggling or plundering and foraging unless organized. I also certify that on or about the 30th of June, 1864, I was ordered by General Wilson to select some place before we arrived in camp after the termination of the expedition, and station my guard to seize all captured horses, mules, and other property, and turn the same over to the proper officers, which order has been, and is being, obeyed. In the individual acts of thieving that came under the notice of General Wilson, or were reported to him by me, he was particularly severe, and I was instructed to use saber and pistol, if necessary, to keep the men in the ranks, which in some cases was done. In one case where I reported the theft of a silver platter he ordered me to find out and arrest the man, and upon our return he would have him severely punished. Some days, owing to the rapidity of the march and the giving out of horses, there was considerable straggling and plundering. When done to any extent, must have been done by these and others who strayed from the line of flankers.
E. W. FRENCH, Captain and Provost-Marshal, Third Division, Cavalry Corps.
JULY 5, 1864—11.20 a. m. Lieutenant-General GRANT, Commanding, fr.:
Brig. Gen. E. W. Hlinks was ordered by me to report for duty in command at Point Lookout because his wounds unfitted him for service in the field. General Hinks was taken from that post to come into the field, hoping to be able to go through. He is admirably fitted for that position. This order was made while that post was in my command and General Hinks started for his post, but since, I am informed, that post has been annexed to the Department of Washington. I desire, therefore, an order from the lieutenant-general assigning General Hinks to that duty, relieving Colonel Draper, of the Thirty-sixth U. S. Col. ored, who is now detained from his regiment in that command and is a valuable ofticer. I believe it to be in contemplation to assign Brig. Gen. James Barnes to Point Lookout, but General Barnes is an educated, able-bodied officer, whose services are much needed in the field.
BENJ. F. BUTLER, Major-General, Commanding.
JULY 5, 1864—2.5. p. m. Lieutenant-General GRANT, Commanding, &c. :
From the best information I can get from deserters and prisoners i am inclined to the opinion that Early's corps, with Imboden, Mosby, and Breckinridge, are making a raid up the Valley near Harper's Ferry or Martinsburg. I think this may be reasonably relied on.
BENJ. F. BUTLER,