my orders over the property, the wood necessary for the command carefully measured, and not another stick allowed to be touched, not a fence-rail burned, he came to me, and said that he could not refrain from expressing his gratification with the conduct of the command. He said that it was the first time he had ever witnessed an encampment of troops in that place where they were made to conduct themselves in an orderly manner; that heretofore they had literally taken possession of the depot and the whole establishment, ransacking every apartment and disturbing everything about the premises, and as for measuring the wood they needed, it was never done; that they took promiscuously all they wanted, and could be seldom got to account for any. I could, sir, pile your table with certificates of the best men all over the section of the State where we have been operating, bearing testimony substantially to the same thing, namely, that though, of course, some misdemeanors had been committed under circumstances where they could no be prevented, yet that our general conduct has been much better than any one familiar with the behavior of troops expected.
You may ask, then, how it happens that you hear so many complaints of this cavalry brigade in this respect. There are many cause that conduce to that result.
1. Because, being a cavalry command, and operating over such a large extent of country, the facilities of bad men to commit misdemeanors is thereby enlarged.
2. Partisan bands, mounted men, professing to belong to the State Line, and many others who commit these petty depredations, pass themselves off on the community as belonging to this brigade. This deception has come to be perfectly notorious.
3. The necessity of sending our horses to many different section to have them wintered has, no doubt, subjected the people there to some inconvenience, and, being unaccustomed to the presence of troops, they magnify every little disturbance, and represent it as a great outrage. I may add that in North Carolina almost every complainant has been proved, upon investigation, to be disloyal to our cause. They would not sell corn when they had a large surplus, or, if they did sell it, would not deliver it if paid for in Confederate money, and were repeatedly heard to say that "they wanted the old Union back again."
4. From the fact, as I have every reason to believe, that systematic efforts have been made to gather up every possible report against the command, and bring it to the notice of the Government, in order to prejudice it against us. You may be almost disposed to regard this as chimerical, but I assure you, sir, that I do not speak unadvisedly. There are those who have frequent access to your ear, if not to your confidence, who believe that my success would be incompatible with their own interests, and, finding no more vulnerable point at which to assail me, they are fain to bring all manner of charges against my brigade.
I have thus enumerated four distinct causes which may have led to your hearing so many charges the orderly conduct of this brigade. The first of these, you will observe, is they only one which proceeds upon the supposition that these charges have any substantial foundation in fact. The other three, which I am satisfied will cover a large majority of cases, proceed upon the ground that the charges are substantially false.
And now, sir, I have done, after briefly and imperfectly adverting to a subject that touched the honor of my command, and, touching that, touched my own. As for myself, as these charges seem not to be aimed