War of the Rebellion: Serial 005 Page 0734 OPERATIONS IN MD., N. VA., AND W. VA. Chapter XIV.

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and hundreds of the residents have come forward and claimed our protection from the dominion and obnoxious restrictions placed upon them by the rebel soldiery. So great has been the dependence on our power and willingness to protect them as people of the same Government and of sympathetic feelings, that it would seem almost cruel to abandon them in our withdrawal to the rage of those whom they have in their denunciations avowed as enemies. The remedy I would respectfully suggest is the taking of Leesburg, which I can accomplish with a slightly augmented force. By doing this the whole of this section of Virginia will be free to declare its undoubted Union sentiment without molestation or fear.

The rebels once driven from that point will fall back effectually, and rid a large circuit of this portion of the State of their despotism and rule of terror. I think they can be driven out of the county in a day or two, which would be very essential, as this valley is a golden granary, form which they have gathered many of their stores, and upon which the supplies for the troops in Centreville have been mainly dependent. I have materially intercepted their supply communication.

I very respectfully tender these suggestions for your consideration and await a reply thereon, and would call your attention to their bearing upon my orders to report to the division as soon as possible after the enterprise upon which I am at present engaged has been completed.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

JNO. W. GEARY,

Colonel Twenty-eight Regiment Pa. Vols., Commanding

CHARLESTOWN, VA., March 4, 1862.

General R. B. MARCY,

Chief of Staff:

General Williams is at Martinsbrug, and will move upon Bunker Hill early. Our information is that the railroad will be open to Martinsburg by the middle of the week. We have no knowledge of the position of General Landers' forces. Letters intercepted yesterday from officers at Winchester to their families speak of expected withdrawal towards Strasburg; they are desponding in tone. General Dana observes no change in affairs at Leesburg. Hard storm yesterday; day clear and cold.

N. P. BANKS,

Major-General, Commanding.

HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT WESTERN VIRGINIA, Wheeling, March 4, 1862.

Honorable FRANK P. BLAIR, Jr.,

Chairman Military Committee House of Representatives:

SIR: Owing to the negligence of officers or their inability to control the men under their command, much property has been unnecessarily destroyed by the troops in this department. Fences and houses have been burned, horses seized and appropriated, without authority or warrant of necessity. Claims for property so taken or destroyed are almost daily presented to me. This state of affairs requires some stringent preventive measures. Some legal provision embodying the substance