Answer. This letter is found on page 189, letter-book, Headquarters Department of the Rappahannock, dated "Opposite Fredericksburg, Va., May 16, 1862," which the witness read, as follows:
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE RAPPAHANNOCK, Opposite Feedericksburg, Va., May 16, 1862.
Brigadier-General VAN RENSSELAER,
GENERAL: It is the direction of the major-general commanding that you proceed with a suitable escort to the cavalry camps of Bayard and Wyndham and thoroughly inspect the same.
You are desired to give special attention to the subject of supplies for the men and horses of their command, with a view to ascertain what, if any of these, have been improperly acquired from the inhabitants living in the vicinity; such as taking the same without giving the specified receipt to the owner, omitting to take up the same on the quartermaster's and subsistence returns, and issuing them regularly as other supplies.
You will also inquire whether in any case persons have been left without a reasonable quantity sufficient for the uses of their households.
An examination of copies of requisitions for the various rations for the last twenty days or more will show whether these regiments have relied chiefly on the regular sources of supply or have resorted to seizures. If the latter, then the necessary receipts, &c., will have to be produced.
Mrs. Seddon, Mrs. Gray, and Mrs. Morson (the latter's letter of complaint is inclosed) have preferred complaints to the general.
He desires you to visit these persons, and, by inquiring of others as well as from them, to learn the justice of their allegations, which are serious.
The general does not wish you to confine your visits to the houses of the persons above named, but expects you to go to others in the neighborhood of he camps, with a view to learning what you can to enable you to make a full report on the subject of these repeated depredations, as alleged.
I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Chief of Staff.
The court adjourned to meet at 11 a. m. December 3.
I have here an order from General McDowell that I ask to have read, just to show the principle upon which this accursed was is prosecuted.
The secretary read as follows:
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE RAPPAHANNOCK,
Opposite Fredericksburg, Va., May 26, 1862.
Colonel Meredith, commanding the Fifty-sixth Pennsylvania Volunteers, will furnish from his regiment a guard for the house
and property of Mr. L. J. Hoffman, who lives near Belle Plain. Colonel Meredith will see that no more corn is taken from Mr. Hoffman and that no more fencing is disturbed. The guard will be so placed as to make this sure, even if it should be necessary to place a sentinel over every panel of fence.
By command of Major-General McDowell:
Mr. WADE. I am told that that Hoffman, whose every panel of fence is to be guarded by a soldier paid for out of our pockets, is as arrant a traitor as there is on the face of God's earth. Now, sir, what say you? Can we reach that property? Can we forage on the enemy? The Senator says Numbers Restrained by the Constitution, are we? We cannot even take it in the field.
L. H. POLOUZE,
Lieutenant-Colonel and Recorder Court of Inquiry.