HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF WESTERN VIRGINIA,
Dublin, July 22, 1863.
Honorable JAMES A. SEDDON,
Secretary of War:
SIR: Lieutenant Colonel W. H. Powell, U. S. Army, who was wounded and taken prisoner at Wytheville on the evening of the 18th instant, is believed to be the same officer who, on the morning of the 10th of January last, caused the houses and barns of Mr. [Austin] Handley and Mr. [James A.] Feamster, near Lewisburg, Greenbrier County, to be burned, under circumstances set forth in the accompanying affidavits. *
I entered into correspondence with Brigadier-General Scammon, U. S. Army, commanding in my front, on the subject. He disclaimed any knowledge of the outrage, condemned it in strong terms, and assured me that it should be investigated. It seems, however, that Lieutenant-Colonel Powell was retained in service, and I have been informed that he has since been promoted.
Lieutenant-Colonel Powell is not so severely wounded as was supposed, and I bring his case to your notice, and forward the accompanying affidavits, to ask that he be not exchanged until it is ascertained from the Government of the United States if he burned the property I have mentioned under orders from superior authority. His conduct, as I understood it, was in violation alike of the laws of this State and the rules and usages of civilized warfare. If his Government avows the act, and declares that he acted under orders, or if he can show that it was done under the pressure of military necessity, m he may be excused. Otherwise I submit that he should be held to answer for his crime.
He is a bold, daring man, and one of the most dangerous officers we have had to contend with in the northwest of this State, and I am particularly anxious that he should not be allowed to return to the Kanawha Valley if it can be avoided.
With great respect, your obedient servant,
P. S. -The prisoner captured at Wytheville declare, as I am informed, that this Lieutenant-Colonel Powell had given orders to burn Wytheville, and he himself admitted to an officer that he had given the same order in regard to Lewisburg.
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF NORTH CAROLINA,
July 22, 1863.
Brigadier-General MARTIN, Commanding, &c., Kinston:
GENERAL: I have received your several dispatches relative to the enemy`s raid.
I hope by this time some of your forces have succeeded in stopping them, though without effective cavalry force I do not see how either their depredations can be arrested or punished. In my limited knowledge of that part of the country, I do not see anything undone on your part that it is possible for us to do in our present circumstances. I applied some days ago for Baker`s regiment to report to