I therefore beg you to please cause a court to be instituted for its investigation; and, in the absence of any knowledge whatever as to the particular act or acts, time or place, or general conduct the deceased may have had in view, I have to ask that the inquiry be without limitation, and be upon any points and every subject which may in [any] way be supposed to have led to his belief.
That it may be directed to my whole conduct as a general officer, either under another or whilst in a separate command, whether in matters of administration or command; to my correspondence with any of the enemy's commanders or with any one within the enemy's line; to my conduct and the policy pursued by me toward the inhabitants of the country occupied by our troops with reference to themselves or their property; and, further, to any imputations of indirect treachery or disloyalty toward the nation or any individual having like myself an important trust.
Whether I have or have not been faithful as a subordinate to those places over me, giving them heartily and to the extent of my capacity all the support in my power.
Whether I have or have not failed, through unworthy personal motives, to go to the aid of, or send re-enforcements to, my brother commanders.
That this subject of my alleged treachery or disloyalty may be fully inquired into I beg that all officers, soldier, or civilians who know, or who think they know, of any act of mine liable to the charge in question be allowed and invited to make it known to the court.
I also beg that the proceedings of the court may be open and free to the press from day to day.
I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your most obedient servant,
Major-General, Commanding Third Army Corps, Army of Virginia.
Washington, November 24, 1862.
J. C. KELTON,
The official copy of the foregoing letter of General McDowell to the President is appended to the proceedings, marked E.*
The recorder then read to the court Special Orders, Numbers 362, current series, from the Headquarters of the Army, as follows:
HDQRS. OF THE ARMY, ADJUTANT GENERAL'S OFFICE,
Numbers 362. Washington, November 25, 1862.
I. The Court of Inquiry instituted in Special Orders, Numbers 350, of november 17, 1862, from the Headquarters of the Army, will make the investigation asked for by Major-General McDowell, U. S. Volunteers, in his letter to the President, dated September 6, 1862, and will report the facts and an opinion in the case.
* * * * * * *
By command of Major-General Halleck:
E. D. TOWNSEND,
The court was cleared for discussion.
The court was opened and the following decision respecting a proposition for deciding a course of investigation was announced:
1. That General McDowell be informed that the court invite and will receive any plan of investigation which he is prepared to submit in writing to be considered by the court.
2. That the members of the court individually digest for consideration their several plans of investigation.
General McDowell informed the court that by to-morrow he would prepare the plan of investigation, as invited.
The court adjourned to meet to-morrow, November 26, 1862, at 11 o'clock, a. m.
*Not reprinted in appendix.