Addenda to report of Colonel Edward M. McCook, Second Indiana Cavalry, commanding First Cavalry Division.*
HDQRS. SECOND BRIG., FIRST CAVALRY DIVISION, Near Winchester, Tenn., November 7, 1863.
Major W. McMICHAEL,
Assistant Adjutant-General, Chattanooga, Tenn.:
MAJOR: In response to a communication of Major Reed, P. A. C. S., charging me with having formally robbed the prisoners captured by my command in the fight at Anderson's Cross-Roads, October 2, 1863, and which has been referred to me for report, I have the honor to state that when I attacked the rebels they had just completed the pillage and destruction of a large train loaded with Government clothing and sutlers' supplies and sanitary stores. They had also captured with the train some officers and soldiers belonging to our army, together with a number of benevolent ladies and gentlemen who were going to the front for the purpose of ministering to the sick and wounded. These prisoners were recaptured by me. I found them nearly destitute. Coats, boots, and even hats had been stripped from them by the rebels, the officers' watches and money taken from their persons, and the ladies' clothing from their trunks. Colonel Russell, Fourth Alabama Cavalry, commanding a brigade, I was informed, was most active in this. Many of the rebels captured were wholly or partially clothed in our uniforms, and nearly all loaded with plunder taken from our train and people. I ordered Captain Hancock, provost-marshal of the division, to strip them of every vestige of captured property and nothing more; and to distribute the United States clothing and blankets among my own men.
Major Reed was not present at this time; he was lying in a state of such helpless intoxication that I had not even deemed it necessary to place a guard over him. I ordered the clothing and blankets taken, simply because they were the property of my Government, recaptured by my command, and many of my own men were absolutely suffering for want of them.
By reference to General Orders, Numbers 16, February 10, 1863, Department of the Cumberland,+ you will see that in this case I would have been justified in proceeding to extreme measures. Without the existence of any such order, I believe I would have been entirely justified in the exercise of almost any severity as a measure of just retaliation for the barbarous outrages committed by both officers and men of the rebel force on that day.
Major Reed had placed himself beyond the amenities recognized in civilized warfare, and dishonored his uniform by firing on Colonel
*See p. 675.
+See Series I, Vol. XXIII, Part II, p. 53.