War of the Rebellion: Serial 090 Page 0658 Chapter LV. OPERATIONS IN N. VA., W. VA., MD., AND PA.

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points, and to this view the place has been fortified and the needed buildings erected. As it was the only station on the line of the railroad west of Harper's Ferry where stores in considerable quantities were usually kept, I did not feel authorized to direct the establishment of a new depot, although doubting the policy of collecting there superfluous stores and supplies. I have ever labored to keep the quantity reduced to the minimum required and have protested against the recent directions of the chief supervising commissary of the Departments of Ohio and West Virginia to establish there the depot of the department, regarding this as an invitation to rebel raids, and there-upon the commissary stores no needed by the troops along the line of road were removed to a safer point and there issued. As it was, however, knowing that considerable stores were necessarily there, I so arranged the small force assigned to guard the western portion of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad as to allow a permanent garrison at the point indicated of about 800 effective men, thus constituting it the only post at which any considerable force was stationed in my command.

In concluding this report, I feel constrained to add that, in my judgment, this disaster to our arms should not have occurred, but resulted from the failure of the commanding officer at the station to take the necessary precautions against surprise. It was his plain duty, with the information he possessed, waiving any question of orders, to place his command under arms and in or near the works, to there remain while there was the least probability of an attack, instead of relying on the pickets to give timely notice of the approach of the hostile force. Had a proper degree of vigilance been exercised the place could, in my judgment, have been successfully defended and a victory achieved. Entertaining this belief, I placed Colonel Latham in arrest and ordered him to Grafton, W. Va., to await trail by general court-martial.

The gallant conduct of Captain Fisher and his shall command is commended to the favorable consideration of the major-general commanding the department. The stubborn resistance he interposed to the rebel incendiary force was the means of preserving nearly all the valuable buildings and other property of the railroad company at Piedmont, and entitles him to great praise.

I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

B. F. KELLEY,

Brevet Major-General.

Captain R. P. KENNEDY,

Assistant Adjutant-General, Department of West Virginia.

[Inclosure No. 1.]

CUMBERLAND, November 25, 1864.

Colonel GEORGE R. LATHAM,

New Creek:

I will send the scout to Rommey, with orders to move up the Trough road. Have you made arrangements with the "Swamps" to occupy South Fork above Moorefield? Direct the officer in command to inform the people of Moorefield and South Branch Valley that if they continue to harbor and feed McNeill's men that the whole valley will be laid waste like the Shenandoah Valley.

B. F. KELLEY,

Brevet Major-General.