in their possession, to report at the cavalry depot commanded by Major Beaumont. A commissioned officer will be sent in charge of these men, taking with him a list of names, giving regiment and company of all men in his charge. Having performed this duty the officer will report back to his brigade. It is important that your dismounted men be sent to the depot at once in order that they may be remounted at once. Let every dismounted man be sent at this time.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
H. C. WEIR,
Captain and Assistant Adjutant-General.
HEADQUARTERS THIRD DIVISION, CAVALRY CORPS,
Light-House Point, Va., July 5, 1864.
Brigadier General S. WILLIAMS,
Assistant Adjutant-General, Army of the Potomac:
GENERAL: In reply to your communication of July 4,* touching certain allegations in the Richmond Examiner of July 2, I have the honor to submit the following, though I can scarcely realize that either my own conduct or that of my command has been seriously arraigned upon charges made in a journal notoriously venal and unscrupulous in its efforts to sustain the cause of the public enemy; It is not strange that General Lee, the Confederate Government, or the people of the rebellious, States, should be dissatisfied with the system of raids instituted against their railroads, but if the major-general commanding has any cause of complaint against the "management of the expedition" which I have had the honor of conducting, I most respectfully request that the proper official investigation be instituted at once. While I cannot commend the conduct of my men in all cases as necessary, or strictly in accordance with the usages of civilized warfare, every means was taken by myself and subordinate commanders to keep it strictly within those bounds. I can safely say further, no man in my command has ever received any part of his education in lawlessness from me. The major-general commanding will not fail to remember that my troops were gone ten days, and during half that time were compelled to subsist upon the country. In regard to this necessity (which no one regretted more than myself) my orders were that everything needed by the command should be taken under the supervision of the provost-marshal,as provided subsequently in General Orders, Numbers 24, June 27;# and while I would not restrict my troops in anything that would be useful to them or beneficial to the enemy, I would severely punish all housebreaking, pillaging, and lawlessness. I regret exceedingly that copies of my orders and instructions on this subject were captured with other papers in the desk of my headquarters, but if General Lee is as prompt to do justice to the character of his enemy as the press of the South is to blacken it by every infamous charge, he will publish the orders in question. I inclose herewith the certificates of my adjutant-general, inspector-general, provost-marshal,and staff officers, from which it will be seen that not only were all practicable exertions made to keep my command in proper bounds, but that even instructions in communication of July 4, directing a special inspection as well as proper steps to carry out provisions of General Orders, Numbers 24, had been already anticipated six or seven days. I shall also forward the statements of my division and brigade commanders upon the subject, in order that the commanding general may fully understand it. It may not be amiss to
*See Part II, p. 632.
#See Part II, p. 465.