War of the Rebellion: Serial 015 Page 0291 Chapter XXIV. GENERAL REPORTS.

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Major Brown's evidence (proceedings of December 2) for further details of property taken and colored fugitives employed for the public service.

Colonel Schriver (proceedings of December 1) being asked-

Do you or not know if supplies for the army were not frequently and largely ordered to be taken from the inhabitants of the country in which we were operating?

Answer. I do.

Question. What knowledge have you that supplies have been ordered to be taken in large quantities from the inhabitants for the use of the army?

Answer. I have heard General McDowell give such orders repeatedly, and I have given them myself in his name.

I will here give in full the orders on the subject of taking property from the country and accounting for the same, with the form of certificate prescribed to be given the owner.*

I also give my order respecting the employment of colored fugitives to relieve the troops from the fatigue labor, and thus increase the number for armed service.+

* * * * * *

It will be seen from Colonel Schriver's testimony (proceedings of December 1) that on the occasion of his march from Front Royal of Luray General Shields was authorized and instructed in Colonel Schriver's letter to him of June 4 to "take such supplies as the troops may require."

From all this it is clear I observed the Regulations of the Army, which are in accordance with all well-regulated warfare.

There are some who think that to live off the enemy's country means to live at free quarters, and for every one to take whatever he needs or desires. This is simply pillage, and no army can exist where it is allowed.

The only safe rule is to lay it down as a law that no one shall interfere with the rights of property save he who represents the Government. That the Government only has the right to take private property for public purposes; that until the Government, through its proper agent, the general commanding-in-chief, seizes private property, it is to be protected, and those taking it without authority are to be considered as much guilty of theft or robbery as if they had done the same thing in their own State; that all supplies seized by proper authority become the property of the Government, and are to be accounted for as regularly as if purchased with Government funds.

This protection to be given not only because these people for the time have no other government than that the general commanding may give them, and are entitled, as long as they are obedient to that government, to be protected by it, but mainly because it is necessary for the army itself-for its discipline, its morale, its safety-that it shall be a body of soldiers, not a band of freebooters and landsknechts, and for the country that the citizens who have entered the army honest and law-fearing shall not return as thieves and robbers.

The case I have before referred to as having been so condemned by one of the Senators of my own State on the floor of the Senate is that of a Mr. Hoffman, of Belle Plain. This person was a farmer, who had his year's crop it granaries near the temporary landing of Belle Plain-two houses full of corn.

This corn I ordered to be taken (see evidence of Major Tillson, proceedings December 2) for the use of the Government, as well as his


*See, in proceedings of eighth day, General Orders, Numbers 8, May 7, and Numbers 18, of June 3.

+See, in proceedings of eighth day, General Orders, Numbers 10, of May 10.