War of the Rebellion: Serial 015 Page 0323 Chapter XXIV. GENERAL REPORTS.

Search Civil War Official Records

SIXTY-SEVENTH DAY.

COURT-ROOM, COR. FOURTEENTH AND PA. AVENUE,

Washington, D. C., February 14, 1863.

The court met pursuant to adjournment.

Present, Major General George Cadwalader, U. S. Volunteers; Brigadier General John H. Martindale, U. S. Volunteers; Brigadier General James H. Van Alen, U. S. Volunteers; Lieutenant Colonel Louis H. Pelouze, assistant adjutant-general, recorder of the court.

The statement of facts and opinions in the case prepared by the court was read by the recorder, and is appended to the proceedings of this day.

There being no further business before the court, it adjourned sine die.

GEO. CADWALADER,

Major-General and President of the Court.

LOUIS H. PELOUZE,

Lieutenant-Colonel and Recorder.

FACTS AND OPINIONS OF THE COURT OF INQUIRY.

COURT-ROOM,

Washington, D. C., February 14, 1863.

The inquiry directed in this case is of a comprehensive and unusual character. No charges had been preferred against General McDowell and no living accuser had presented himself to make the slightest complaint against him; nevertheless he deemed it important that his whole conduct as a general officer should be made the subject of judicial investigation; and in his letter requesting a court of inquiry he discloses the existence of such extreme dissatisfaction as to induce a dying officer to impute the loss of his life to "McDowell's treachery." No specific act of treason was indicated by that officer.

It must have been foreseen, in view of the high commands intrusted to General McDowell during the present rebellion, and the important part which he has borne in the measures to suppress it, that an investigation into his whole conduct would open a wide field of inquiry. Notwithstanding the presence of civil war, and the difficulty of detailing officers and witnesses to conduct such an investigation, the Government has judged it expedient to direct this court to make it.

In the letter requesting the inquiry General McDowell publishes the following invitation:

I beg that all officers, soldiers, or civilians, who know or think they know of any acts of mine liable to the charge in question, be allowed and invited to make it known to the court.

In thus inviting a proceeding in which he confronts the whole world the court constituted to conduct it is placed in an attitude to assume that General McDowell was the object of wide-spread discontent in the Army and among civilians.

The investigation would scarcely be complete which did not seek after and find some solution for such general dissatisfaction, at least if it could be found within the appropriate limits of judicial inquiry by pertinent testimony.

To this end much testimony has been received, disclosing the particular