the hands of the enemy, a statement will be given to the owner thereof, showing for the kind of property, its value, and the date it was taken. All such property will be taken by or turned over tot he quartermaster's department of the division, except cattle taken for the subsistence department. The officers of these departments will bear all such property on the return, and will be held accountable for it.
The attention of the troops of the division is called to the fifty-fourth articles of war. It should be borne in mind that whilst there is nothing more noble and honorable than to fly to arms and offer your lives in the cause of offended liberty and in the defense of your country, these is nothing more disgraceful than to rob or wantonly destroy the private property of your unoffending citizens. The two are entirely incompatible with each other, and any one guilty of the last can never be true to his honor.
The major-general commanding regrets having to call the attention of his division to this of war.
By order of Major General Earl Van Dorn:
JOSEPH D. BALFOUR,
Assistant Adjutant-General. .
RICHMOND, VA., October 20, 1861.
General G. T. BEAUREGARD:
MY DEAR GENERAL: I have the pleasure to acknowledge yours of the 15th and telegram of this date.* To the latter I reply that your rank, being of the highest grade known to our service, is equal to any command. Your inquiry must, therefore, be whether there can be a distinction between an army and a corps d'armee. There is none in the law of our army organization. If two corps or armies should happen to join or do duty together, though the senior officer would command the whole, the permanent organization of each army would not properly be disturbed by such accidental junction; but, if two armies should be concentrated into one, indefinitely to remain consolidated, the plainest principes of military organization require that they should be organized as one body, reference being had solely to future efficiency. The junior of the two commander of the former armies would be second in command of the whole, and would or would not have special charge of a subdivision, according to the circumstances of the case. In your case, it would seem to me better that you should not have special charge of a subdivision, because, in the absence of General Johnston, your succession to the command of the whole would not disturb the relations of the officers and troops, nor involve any changes of positions on the line occupied; and, further, because your acquaintance with the whole body of the army, and the absence of any idea of identification with a part of it, would better qualify [you] for that succession.
The growing importance of the District of Aquia, and the increasing necessity for operations in the valley of Virginia, have suggested to me the propriety of bringing those sections into closer relations to the Army of the Potomac. That, it seems to me, may best be done by sending a general of division to the valley, and by placing the senior general (Johnston) in command of a department, embracing the three armies (of the Potomac, the Aquia, and the Valley). This has, I believed, been already intimated to you by the Secretary of War. Two.
*Not found. .