clover and a field of growing corn. He came to see me; and as I was going from Aquia to Fredericksburg, in company with some members of the Cabinet, he met me at the Accokeek, and asked it I would pay him for his grain and if he could have any protection for his growing crop. (See evidence of Major C. Brown, of December 2.)
I questioned him as to his conduct in reference to the war. He claimed to have had nothing to do with it; to have refused to sell anything to the other side, appealing to his full granaries to prove his statement; avowed his sympathies, however, to be with the South. I told him in that case he could not expect I should strengthen his hands by giving him pay for his crops. He then asked if his grain crop near his house, on which his family depended for their sustenance, might be spared; that he was near the high road taken by the trains coming down to the landing, and was molested by the small parties coming with them by their burning his fences and turning his fields out in commons. I promised him his fences should not be further disturbed (there was an abundance of wood near), and that he might go on raising his crop. I was then feeding from the Government stores several hundred women and children who had fled to the army, and as a matter of economical administration of the resources of the country wished as much grain, &c., raised as possible.
None of us then thought we should ever give up a foot of ground north of the Rappahannock, whatever else might come.
The Secretary of the Treasury, whom no one will suspect of not having been and not now being in earnest in the prosecution of this war, was present, and my action in the case struck him as a matter of course.
I had taken all the farmer's grain, giving nothing but a statement of the fact, and promised him protection for the growing crop and the reserve of corn kept at his house for the use of his family. Everything else in this case was but a mere fulfillment of that promise and an enforcement of the orders I gave to carry it out.
I ordered a sentinel to be posted from the command at Belle Plain over Mr. Hoffman's premises. This duty was neglected; he came again; again was the order given; when, finding the order still neglected, I instructed a staff officer to write a peremptory note to the commanding officer, making him accountable that the orders given should not be so disregarded. The terms employed by the officer I did not see, it being a matter of detail into which I did not examine. Major Breck, assistant adjutant-general, the officer in question (see proceedings of December 2), says:
General McDowell directed me to order Colonel Meredith to have the house and corn of Mr. Hoffman protected, and he told me at the same time that a similar order had already been given, and directed me to make this order strong and peremptory. With these directions I wrote the order. General McDowell did not see the order I drew up, to my knowledge. Those directions that I speak of was all he had to do with it, so far as I know.
Question. Did the witness understand the instruction to make the order peremptory to refer to the failure of the commanding officer to comply with previous orders?
Answer. I understood that the cause of the previous directions given me to make this order peremptory was because the first order had not been obeyed, the property having been injured since, and further to enforce military discipline.
I will now give that part of the debate in the Senate which refers to this case, taken from the Congressional Globe:
Mr. WADE. I have here an order from General McDowell that I ask to have read, just to show the principle upon which this accursed war is prosecuted.
The Secretary read as follows: