War of the Rebellion: Serial 015 Page 0041 Chapter XXIV. GENERAL REPORTS.

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Washington, D. C., November 26, 1862-11 p. m.

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Major-General McDowell then read to the court the following, being a plan of investigation for the consideration of the court which he was invited by the court to prepare at its last sitting:

The original is appended to the proceedings and marked F.*

WASHINGTON, November 26, 1862.

With reference to the intimation that I should submit in writing for the consideration of the court "a plan of investigation," I beg to state as follows:

I was appointed a brigadier-general in the Army on the 14th of May, 1861, and a major-general of volunteers on the 14th of March, 1862.

Under the former commission I was placed in command of the troops on the right bank of the Potomac in the then Department of Northeastern Virginia, and retained that command, under Lieutenant-General Scott, until superseded by Major-General McClellan.

Soon after, the military departments of Washington and Northeastern Virginia being suppressed, I was give the command of a division in the Army of the Potomac, which I retained till promoted to that of the First Army Corps, Army of the Potomac.

My next command was that of the Department of the Rappahannock, which was created on the 4th of April, 1862, and had for its limits Virginia between the Potomac and the Aquia, Fredericksburg and Richmond Railroad on the east and the blue ridge on the west, and so much of Maryland as is between the Patuxent and the Potomac, including the district of Columbia and the city of Washington. This command was exercised under the orders of the War Department and the president. It was retained till suppressed, together with the Mountain Department, commanded by Major-General Fremont, and the Department of the Shenandoah, commanded by Major-General Banks, and all the troops in each consolidated into the Army of Virginia, under Major-General Pope.

In this army I commanded the Third Army Corps up to the 6th of last September, when I was relieved to undergo this investigation.

The details of the disaster of the battle of Bull Run of July 21, where I commanded, having become fully known to the country, having been investigated by a joint committee of Congress, and I having since been appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate a major-general, i have not thought it necessary to ask the court to take up that campaign, and for the further reason that it would tax heavily their time and extend their investigation into questions for which at this distance of time it would be difficult to bring together the necessary witnesses. If, however, the court which, or should think it proper, I am ready to go also into that part of my military history. But, without seeking to limit the court or wishing to limit myself, if hereafter if would seem advisable to extend the investigation, I do not purpose now to go further back than shall be necessary to bring before the court so much of my conduct as a general officer as has been under my commission as major-general. This to take in such events as had commenced before and were passing when that commission was conferred.

The question which stands forth prominently in this case, and which may be assumed as the charge to which all the other points can be regarded as specifications, is that of treason.

Knowing of no specific act, none having been charged, I have the difficult task of proving a negative. By direct proof this is of cause impossible, and the only way I know of doing so is by such evidence as shall cause innocence to be informed.

It was with this in view I wrote to the President the letter now before the court, and asked an investigation on such points as would, if the result of the investigation should prove favorable, leave no doubts to my prejudice.

In addition, therefore, to the question of my general conduct as an executive and administrative officer, I have asked inquiry to be made on those points I supposed may have had in the minds of others a direct bearing on the main question, as follows:

1st. An investigation of my correspondence with the enemy's commanders or with any one within the enemy's lines.

If the present limitation I have indicated be adopted, the only correspondence I am aware of was with the secession commander opposite Fredericksburg, which my chief of staff, Colonel Schriver, can produce.

If it is wished or should be wished to go back to my command of the Department


*No reprinted in appendix.