Numbers 2. Extract from proceedings of a Special Commission, and letter from Colonel John Scott, Thirty-second Iowa Infantry.
PROCEEDINGS OF A SPECIAL COMMISSION WHICH CONVENED AT SAINT LOUIS, MO., BY VIRTUE OF THE FOLLOWING SPECIAL ORDER:
SPECIAL ORDERS, HDQRS. DEPARTMENT OF THE MISSOURI, Numbers 30.
Saint Louis, February 3, 1 863.
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VII. Pursuant to authority from the General-in-Chief,* a Special Commission is hereby constituted, to consist of the following officers, viz: Brigadier General W. K. Strong, U. S. Volunteers; Colonel J. L. Geddes, Eighth Iowa Infantry; Colonel Albert G. Brackett, Ninth Illinois Cavalry, whose duty it shall be to investigate and report upon the facts of the destruction of the ordnance and ordnance stores at New Madrid about the 27th of December, 1862. The Commission will also report as to the culpability of the officer or officers responsible, and whether or not he or they should be dismissed the service of the United States.
The Commission will sit at such post or place as they shall see fit, or will move from post to post as the necessity of the service may require, and will sit without regard to hours.
By command of Major-General Curtis:
H. Z. CURTIS,
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SAINT LOUIS, MO.,
February 26, 1863 - 11 a. m.
Commission met pursuant to adjournment. Present, all the members. The proceedings of yesterday were then read by the recorder.
The Commission, after mature deliberation, find the following facts:
That on the 28th day of December, A. D. 1862, six iron siege guns were spiked at New Madrid, Mo.; six gun carriages and platforms were burned, and a quantity of ammunition destroyed. The loss to the Government, aside from the loss of the ammunition, the value of which is not ascertained, was about $ 350 or $ 450. A set of barracks were on the same day burned at New Madrid, but this was purely the result of an accident. No other Government property was destroyed.
The ordnance and ordnance stores above mentioned were destroyed by men of the garrison of New Madrid, under command of Colonel John Scott, of the Thirty-second Regiment Iowa Volunteer Infantry, commanding post. This was done by virtue of an order which Colonel Scott received from Brigadier General Thomas A. Davies, commanding District of Columbus; and although Colonel Scott was not under the direct command of Brigadier-General Davies, he did right under the circumstances in obeying Brigadier-General Davies' order, and not only did his duty, but is honorably acquitted of all blame.
Brigadier General Thomas A. Davies, U. S. Volunteers, commanding at that time the District of Columbus, gave Colonel John Scott the order, and is responsible for it. The post at Columbus, he had good reason to suppose, was in imminent danger of capture by the rebel forces, and he acted the part of a prudent and faithful officer in crippling the arma-
* See Halleck to Curtis, January 26, 1863, in "Correspondence, etc.," Part II, p.