War of the Rebellion: Serial 016 Page 0802 OPERATIONS IN N. VA., W. VA., AND MD. Chapter XXIV.

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Question. Was the destruction of what was destroyed a necessity?

Answer. It was my impression at the time that everything that could be done was done to save the property under that order.

Question. Was the evacuation, generally, conducted in good or in bad order? Was it deliberate, or was it improperly hasty, as the case may be? What is your judgment about that?

Answer. I conceived it to be deliberate. The command generally did not know anything about it until near dark somewhere. I think the troops moved off quietly and in order. The citizens of Winchester knew nothing about the evacuation, so far as I could learn from persons I talked with afterward, a great many of them, until they heard the explosion of the magazine. The whole thing was conducted, so far as I know, in good order.

Question. Did you observe any indifference to the public interest, or did you observe any anxiety on my part? Did I manifest either?

Answer. You certainly manifested a great deal of anxiety.

Question. I mean to save all the property that could be saved?

Answer. Yes, sir; you manifested all the anxiety that any person could who felt an interest in it.

Question. If you know of anything whatever connected with that evacuation, and the destruction of that property, in which you consider that the interests of the Government were at all prejudiced, or any improper movement made, in accordance with the orders which I had, anything that would be of benefit to the court and the Government to know, I desire you to state it.

Answer. There is but one point upon which I have ever thought there was any lack of judicious destruction, and that was with reference to the property under my own special control I have ascertained since we left Winchester that some of the property was not destroyed, but fell into the hands of the rebels; the meat in the fort especially. Nearly all the meat there was in a condition to serve their purposes as well as though it had not burned at all. That is the only point in which I thought the public interests suffered at all.

Question. Was that from the want of proper orders from me? Are you not aware that orders were given to Captain Powell to destroy that property?

Answer. I am aware that order was given to him.

Question. Do you not know that he undertook to destroy it, and supposed he had destroyed it?

Answer. Yes, sir; he believed he had destroyed it, no doubt about that. You asked me to state anything in which I thought the public interest had suffered. The only thing was this property falling into the hands of our enemy. Captain Powell undoubtedly thought he had destroyed this property.

Question. Then, after all, it was not for want of proper instructions from myself?

Answer. No, sir; it was not.

By the COURT:

Question. How did you get this information?

Answer. I received it from a gentleman named Keiger, a citizen of Winchester, who came to Harper's Ferry after the surrender there.

Question. Did you regard it as reliable?

Answer. Yes, sir; I considered it reliable. I heard it from some one else, who it was I cannot tell. I heard from two sources that the rebels came there and found this meat in the fort. The barrels had been burned, but the meat was in as good condition as though it had not been burned at all.