War of the Rebellion: Serial 015 Page 0275 Chapter XXIV. GENERAL REPORTS.

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until ordered to fall back to the position from whence we started. Had the enemy "forced" me back, in the sense of General Milroy's report, he would have obtained possession not only of the turnpike, but of the stone bridge; and what would have then been the result you are well aware. Our defeat would have been disastrous.

I am, sir, respectfully, your obedient servant,


Lieutenant Colonel Fourth Infantry, Commanding First Brigadier Reg. Infantry.


COURT-ROOM, COR. FOURTEENTH AND PA. AVENUE, Washington, D. C., February 9, 1863.

* * * * * *

The whole proceedings of the court having been read by the recorder, Major-General McDowell read the statement referred to by him in the proceedings of the 14th instant (sixty-first day), which statement is appended to the proceedings of this day, marked A.

The court adjourned to meet to-morrow, February 10, 1863, at 11 o'clock a. m.



Statement of Major General Irvin McDowell.

WASHINGTON, February 9, 1863.

The unusual position I have occupied, seeking an investigation of so general a character as the one just concluded, whilst there were no charges against me, seems to require a few words of explanation, lest I shall be thought to have unwarrantably taxed the public service with the time and cost of this court or to have sought an inquiry into my conduct and character in a spirit of vain self-confidence and conceit. It may not therefore be out of place in me to state that at the end of the campaign in September last the outcry against me was so great, that my usefulness as a public officer was thought to be so impaired as to cause it to be intimated to me from high authority that my friends could continue to support and defend me better if I were to have this investigation than they otherwise would be able to do. So I applied for it, though neither the War Department, the General-in-Chief, nor the general commanding the Army of Virginia had said anything to make it necessary or had received charges of any kind against me. The only one I could hear of was from an officer who was then dead, and his general charge of treason had therefore to be made the basis of my application, which, in the absence of any specific allegations, was made in the general terms adopted.

In taking this course I was far from supposing I could submit to such an inquiry as I asked into my whole conduct without something I had done or omitted to do being discovered, which I could not now wish had been otherwise. But if, on the one hand, errors of judgment should appear, on the other, I felt confident errors of intention would not, and that it would be made clear that nothing had occurred to warrant the