might have left as to the probability of an advance by Lee or any portion of his army upon Winchester . 7 . That the evacuation of Winchester by General Milroy was as well ordered as could have been expected under all the circumstances, and that the loss of most of the public property, which was abandoned, was inevitable . 8. That during the retread the troops of General Mirloy were not kept well in hand, but were very much dispersed, but that this was in great part owing to their being obliged to force their way through a body of troops superior in numbers, and in some part also (in the opinion of the majority of the witnesses) to a want of active co-operation on the part of Colonel McReynolds, commanding Third Brigade, in the engagement with the enemy, and in the efforts used for securing a safe retreat .
Honorable E. M. STANTON,
Secretary of War .
OCTOBER 27, 1863 .
In June last a division was substantially lost at and near Winchester, Va. At the time, it was under General Milroy as immediate commander in the field, General Schenck as department commander at Baltimore, and General Halleck as
General-in-Chief. at Washington. General Milroy, as immediate commander, was put in arrest, and subsequently a court of inquiry examined chiefly with reference to disobedience of orders, and reported the evidence . The foregoing is a synoptical statement of the evidence, together with the Judge-Advocate-General's conclusions . The disaster, when it came, was a surprise to all. It was very well known to Generals Schenck and Milroy for some time before that General Halleck thought the division was in great danger of a surprise at Winchester ; that it was of no service commensurate with the risk it incurred, and that it ought to be withdrawn ; but, although he more than once advised its withdrawal, he never positively ordered it . General Schenck, on the contrary, believed the service of the force at Winchester was worth the hazard, and so did not positively order its withdrawal until it was so late that the enemy cut the wire and prevented the order reaching General Milroy . General Milroy seems to have concurred with General Schenck in the opinion that the force should be kept at Winchester at least until the approach of danger, but he disobeyed no order upon the subject . Some question can be made whether some of General Halleck's dispatches to General Schenck should not have been constructed to be orders to withdraw the force, and obeyed accordingly ; but no such question can be made against General Milroy . In fact, the last order he received was to be prepared to withdraw, but no actually withdraw until further order, which further order never reached him . Serious blame is not necessarily due to any serious disaster, and I cannot say that in this case any of the officers are deserving of serious blame . No court-martial is deemed necessary or proper in the case .
A. LINCOLN .