less; and then a good man, loyal and true, whose circumstances, family, age, or infirmity might hinder from taking up arms for the Government, and who would willingly take the oath, might, by the changes in the war, be left at the mercy of the rebels when our forces should withdraw from his section of the country. It is well known how much mischief has been done by requiring this prematurely where we did not continue to have the power to protect those whom we called out and thus drive away those who would have been able to give us important aid or information or subjecting them to great hardship and imprisonment. The principle I adopted was to take whatever I needed for the use of my troops, paying only those whom, by investigation, I could satisfy myself were good Union men, and giving all others certificates only, setting forth what was taken from them, and that they would be paid at the end of the war if they could show that they had been loyal citizens and not given aid or comfort to the enemy, thus, to the extent of what was taken, putting them under bounds for good behavior.
That I used freely the resources of the country may be seen from the evidence of Lieutenant-Colonel Myers, my chief quartermaster (see proceedings of December 18), and papers submitted by him, showing the instructions given through him for seizing supplies and accounting for them.
Lieutenant-Colonel Myers says, with reference to the supplies taken:
I think claim was made on me for nearly all these stores. None were paid for, however, as far as my knowledge goes.
Payment was refused on the ground of their being rebels, antagonistic to the Government. Payment was always refused to disloyal persons on the ground that they were disloyal.
General Wadsworth (see proceedings of December 17), in answer to a question as to General McDowell's conduct toward the inhabitants of the country, either as respects themselves or their property, says:
As respects their persons, he protected non-combatants from disturbance or molestation by the soldiers as far as possible.
As respects their property, he took a large amount of forage for public service at the time it was needed, paying loyal citizens in money, and giving to those of questionable loyalty verbal or written assurances that they would be paid after the war if they were loyal from that time on. He did not allow marauding by soldiers.
General Haupt (see proceedings of December 6) being asked, "What rule did General McDowell establish as to the property of the inhabitants of the country required for the use of the troops under his command," says:
That it should be taken whenever necessary for the use of the army, but always by proper requisition. General McDowell claimed the privilege of being, as he frequently said, the only plunderer in the Army of the Rappahannock. He would take what he needed for the use of the army, but could not permit his men to plunder on private account. When property was taken receipts were given as evidence of the fact. Orders were given to leave subsistence sufficient to keep families from starvation.
He further says:
Lumber was taken wherever it could be found. Nearly all the timber suitable for bridging was exhausted in the vicinity of Potomac Creek, and all the timber of suitable dimensions that could be found in Fredericksburg was used in reconstructing the bridge across the Rappahannock. A large machine-shop and foundery, with all the machinery and tools appertaining thereto and the materials on hand, were appropriated for the use of the road in Fredericksburg.
And that as to colored fugitives-
They were employed, and to the extent of all that could possibly be procured.
See Lieutenant-Colonel Tillson's (proceedings, sections 2 and 6) and