War of the Rebellion: Serial 026 Page 0205 Chapter XXX. SKIRMISH AT WILLIAMSBURG, VA.

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Fort Monroe, March 31, 1863.

Major General E. D. KEYES,

Commanding, Yorktown, Va.:

GENERAL: In view of the raid on Williamsburg on Sunday last, and rumors of complicity on the part of the inhabitants with the assailants, you will give orders as follows:

1st. No persons will be allowed to go to Williamsburg from any point south of Fort Magruder without taking the oath of allegiance.

2nd. No citizen of Williamsburg will be permitted to go to Yorktown or to any place south of Fort Magruder without taking the oath of allegiance.

3rd. No person will be allowed to trade and Williamsburg without first taking the oath of allegiance.

4th. No further supplies will be allowed to be taken to Williamsburg for the use of the inhabitants, except the produce of the neighboring farms, until further orders.

An investigation will be made into the circumstances alleged to have occurred at the time of the attack, and if the parties accused of aiding and abetting it are detected and reasonable presumption of their guilt is shown they will be brought before a military tribunal and punished accordingly to the laws of war.

The objections to the order issued by General Busteed are:

1st. If the enemy should come in overwhelming force and dispossess us of Williamsburg the order would be an idle threat.

2nd. It assumes without investigation that the reports of complicity with the enemy are true and that all the inhabitants are implicated, whereas we must ascertain who is guilty and leave the innocent undisturbed.

3rd. It has not been the policy of the Government in towns which are occupied as outposts, and which may only be temporarily held as such, to apply the tests imposed by General Busteed's order; but on the contrary to leave the people unmolested if they continue in the quiet pursuit of their customary occupations and give no aid or comfort to the enemy.

4th. An order of such extensive scope as that of General Busteed, who was only temporarily in command in your absence, should not have been issued without authority of the commanding general of the department.

Should it be found that any house in Williamsburg was occupied by the enemy with the consent of the owner for the purpose of firing upon our troops it will be razed to the ground.



Numbers 2. Report of Lieutenant Colonel William Lewis, Fifth Pennsylvania Cavalry.


Near Williamsburg, VA., March 29, 1863.

COLONEL: I have the honor to report that at about 5 a. m. this day a body of infantry, 100 strong, drove in our pickets near Lipscomb's farm and advanced into Williamsburg while a large force of cavalry, esti-