War of the Rebellion: Serial 026 Page 1095 Chapter XXX. CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.-CONFEDERATE.

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It way my intention to have done myself the honor to make you a flying visit, but I find that I cannot well quit my post.

With the greatest respect, I am, your most obedient servant,


Lieutenant-General, Commanding.



Richmond, August 15, 1863.

I. A court of inquiry having been convened at Richmond on the 29th of July, 1863, pursuant to Paragraph XVII, Special Orders, Numbers 176, Adjutant and Inspector General's Office, current series, to examine into certain charges preferred against Major William Norris, chief of the signal corps, and having made the required examination, the report of facts proven, with the opinion of the court thereon, is published for the information of all concerned.


1. Major Norris was not intoxicated on the 31st of May, 1863.

2. He did not reveal the alphabet of the signal corps on the 31st of May, 1863.

3. The enemy knew, or had opportunity to know, the locality of the signal stations between City Point and Clairmont before the 31st of May, 1863, none of which were disclosed to him by Major Norris on that day.

4. The dispatch shown to Captain Mulford by Major Norris was a private dispatch, conveying a report of success at Vicksburg.

5. There was no improper intercourse between Major Norris and any officers or persons in the service of the enemy, on the 31st of May, 1863.


I. The court is of opinion that the charges in this case have been loosely made, and without due care and investigation, and should not be further entertained. The court is also of opinion that the private and official character of Major Norris remain unaffected by this proceeding.

II. The charges, of which Major Norris has been thus fully exonerated by the court, were made without that consideration which their serious R. A. Forbes, Second Company Independent Signal Corps, to the grave censure of the department. The personal and official character of an officer is not to be lightly assailed. The accuser will be held to support his charges by evidence; and in an especial manner is he required to avoid creating the impression that the loose, unofficial statements of others are facts within his own knowledge. The greatest care and consideration should be manifested by those preferring charges, particularly when the reputation, personal and professional, of superior is called in question.

III. The court of inquiry, of which Lieutenant Colonel George Deas, Adjutant-General's Department, was president, is hereby dissolved.

By order:


Adjutant and Inspector General.