In the opinion of the court, both humanity and public policy not only justified but required the course of procedure adopted by General McDowell.
THE CONDUCT OF GENERAL M'DOWELL TOWARD THE INHABITANTS OF THE COUNTRY OCCUPIED BY UNITED STATES FORCES, WITH REFERENCE TO THEMSELVES OF THEIR PROPERTY.
General McDowell adopted as a principle of administration that the exclusive authority to control and appropriate rebel property was vested in an should be exercised by the commander of the army, and that all interference with it by subordinate officers or soldiers, not sanctioned by that authority, should be denounced and punished as acts which were calculated to demoralize the army and defeat the objects of the war.
In this particular the opinion of the court is that the principle was right, and the measures adopted by General McDowell to enforce it merit commendation.
It is apparent that the censure which was passed upon his conduct during the course of a debate in the Senate on this subject arose from a want of information of all the circumstances relating to it.
From the date of the departure of General McDowell from Fredericksburg to the formation of the Army of Virginia, on the 26th June, 1862, in which the Army of the Rappahannock was merged, his conduct has been the subject of critical investigation by the court. No particular facts were elicited which require special consideration. Throughout this period the court find that his conduct was irreproachable.
It was during this time, and while the enemy's troops under Jackson were operating in the valley of the Shenandoah, that General McDowell sent forward McCall's division of Pennsylvania Reserves, about 10,000 strong, to the Army of the Potomac. This division reached the Chickahominy and got in position on the right of that army at Mechanicsville about the 19th of June, being a week previous to the Army of the Potomac to the James River.
GENERAL M'DOWELL AS A COMMANDER IN THE ARMY OF VIRGINIA, UNDER GENERAL POPE.
When General Pope assumed command of the Army of Virginia, on the 26th of June, 1862, although in order of rank he was below General McDowell, he has testified that he received from that officer the most valuable and cordial co-operation and assistance.
The court dwell with satisfaction on these fire qualities of military subordination, frequently exemplified by General McDowell under circumstances trying to the pride and emulation of a general officer.
The conduct of General McDowell at Cedar Mountain was incidentally called in question by the testimony of General Sigel during his cross-examination as to the unfavorable impressions resting on his mind against General McDowell; but no specific and tangible accusation against him could be predicated on that part of the testimony of General Sigel, nor upon any other part except that which relates to the operations and battles in the neighborhood of Thoroughfare Gap, Gainesville, Groveton, Manassas, and Bull Run, on the 28th, 29th, and 30th days of August last. In respect to the whole conduct of General McDowell preceding those days, and especially the engagement of General