War of the Rebellion: Serial 044 Page 0124 N. C., VA., W. VA., MD., PA., ETC. Chapter XXXIX.

Search Civil War Official Records

tion of his absence on yesterday. He stated to the court that his duties required his being in Baltimore, and that he had started from there in order to attend, as required, but the train had been unusually delayed.

Lieutenant Colonel Donn Piatt, U. S. Volunteers, being duly sworn, answers:

By the Judge-Advocate:

Question. What was your position on Major-general Schenck's staff at the time Winchester was evacuated by General Milroy's command?

Answer. I was his chief of staff.

Question What orders or instructions were received by General Schenck from the General-in-Chief, in reference to holding or evacuating Winchester?

Answer. I was in Delaware with the general, I think, on the 7th or 8th of June, when, in anticipation of a raid by General Stuart, he ordered me to go to Winchester, and make an inspection of that place, and to report to him as to the actual condition of General Milroy and his forces there, and also to report to him what had better be done under the circumstances . At Baltimore I telegraphed to General Schenck, asking what places the General-in-Chief. had designated as the better ones for the concentration of troops in case the raid came on . General Schenck answered me that the General -in-Chief had not designated any points, and I then telegraphed to Major-General Halleck, in General Schenck's name, the following telegram, Viz:

"Baltimore, Md., June 9, 1863. "

Major-General Halleck,


"Does your knowledge of rebel movements enable you to suggest the better points on the railroad to concentrate?I have at Point of Rocks and Frederick 3, 400 men; at Harper's Ferry, 6, 300; at Winchester 6, 900; at Martinsburg, 3, 000; at Romney 2, 300, at New Creek 2, 400. Troops at winchester can fall back now the Harper's Ferry; in face enemy, to Martinsburg. Force at Romney can fall back to Green Spring.

"Robt. C. Schenck,

"Major-General, Commanding. "

I would say, in explanation of this telegram, that the troops enumerated there are not correctly stated. I had been but a short time in the department, and gathered that representation from the returns at headquarters. Subsequently I found that this force was greatly exaggerated at each one of those points. I received no answer to this telegram before I left Baltimore. I proceeded, on the night, on the 9th, June, if I recollect right, by way of Harper; s Ferry and martinsburg, to Winchester, where I arrived, I think, on the 10th June . After looking at the works, and making a hurried inspection of the troops, I returned to Martinsburg. At Martinsburg, or just before entering that place, I was overtaken by an express from General Milroy, sending me the following telegram, viz:

"Baltimore, June 11, 1863-12, 40 p. m.

"Lieutenant Colonel Donn Piatt, Martinsburg:

"the following just received from Washington:`Harper's Ferry is the important place; Winchester is of no importance other than as a lookout. The winchester troops, except enough to serve as an outpost, should be withdrawn to Harper's Ferry . The troops at Martinsburg should also be ready to fall back to Harper; s Ferry. No large amount of supplies should be left in any exposed position.

"`H. W. Halleck,

"`General-in-Chief ' "Colonel Piatt will take steps for preparing to carry out carefully and judiciously these instructions of the General-in-Chief The troops at Romney will also have to be consider in any arrangement for such falling back and concentration. Be ready, but wait for furthers orders.

"Robt. C. Schenck,

" Major-General, Commanding. "