Brig. Gen. Irvin McDowell Reports Outrages

7 10 2020

CORRESPONDENCE, ORDERS, AND RETURNS RELATING TO OPERATIONS IN MARYLAND, PENNSYLVANIA, VIRGINIA, AND WEST VIRGINIA FROM APRIL 16 TO JULY 31, 1861

CORRESPONDENCE, ETC. – UNION

O. R. – Series I – VOLUME 2 [S #2] CHAPTER IX, pp. 654-655

Hdqrs. Department Northeastern Virginia,
May 29,1861.

Lieut. Col. E. D. Townsend,
Assistant Adjutant-General, Hdqrs. Army, Washington, D. C.:

Colonel: There have been rumors of outrages committed by volunteers in Alexandria. Colonel Butterfield, of the Twelfth New York, has reported several cases of trespass, depredations, and attempts at burglary in his vicinity.

I am aware we are not, theoretically speaking, at war with the State of Virginia, and we are not, here, in an enemy’s country; but if the ordinary courts and officers of the State, against whose peace and dignity it is these acts have been committed, are not in the exercise of their functions, shall not these cases be punished, as similar ones were in Mexico, by military commission? It is a question of policy which, being so near at hand, I beg to submit to the General-in-Chief.

In connection with this subject I will mention that the battalion of Georgetown Volunteers at the head of the Chain Bridge are reported as acting harshly towards the inhabitants on this side, whom they charge with being secessionists; that, coming themselves from so near their present station, they have stronger personal feelings in this matter and are more liable to be influenced by them than troops coming from a distance. The plea that a man is a secessionist is set up in some cases by persons depredating on property as a justification of their acts.

I have the honor to be, colonel, very respectfully, your most obedient servant,

IRVIN MCDOWELL,
Brigadier- General, Commanding.


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