Charges and specifications preferred by Maj. Gen. T. J. Jackson against Brig. Gen. W. W. Loring
CHARGE I. Neglect of duty.|
Specification 1. In this, that Brig. Gen. W. W. Loring, P. A. C. S., did fail to be with his command and see that it was properly encamped and cared for on the evening of the 1st of January, 1862, near Pughtown, Va.
Specification 2. In this, that when the command of Brig. Gen. W. W. Loring was met by a party of the enemy in the vicinity of Bath, Va., on the evening of the 3d of January, 1862, he neglected to attack and press forward with requisite promptness.
Specification 3. In this, that Brig. Gen. W. W. Loring, P. A. C. S., having the advance in moving on the enemy at Bath, Va., on the 4th January, 1862, did permit the head of his column, without sufficient cause, repeatedly to halt and lose so much time as to induce Maj. Gen. T. J. Jackson, P. A. C. S., to order forward other troops of General Loring’s command for the purpose of at least securing the town of Bath before night.
Specification 4. In this, that Brig. Gen. W. W. Loring, P. A. C. S., permitted part of his command to become so demoralized as not to be in a condition for active service at Romney, Va., on the 18th of January, 1862, and thus, though the troops of other commanders were in a condition for active service, it was necessary to abandon an important expedition against the enemy in consequence of such inefficiency in Brig. Gen. W. W. Loring’s command preventing his efficient co-operation.
Specification 5. In this, that Brig. Gen. W. W. Loring, P. A. C. S., did permit officers of his command, in violation of the Army Regulations, to unite in a petition against their commands being required to pass the winter in the vicinity of Romney, notwithstanding the commanding general of the Valley District had directed that Brig. Gen. W. W. Loring’s command should go into winter quarters in that vicinity. All this at or near Romney, Va., on or about the 17th of January, 1862.
CHARGE II. Conduct subversive of good order and military discipline.
Specification 1. In this, that when, on the 3d of January, 1862, a staff officer delivered a message from Maj. Gen. T. J. Jackson to Brig. Gen. W. W. Loring, near Unger’s Store, Va., he did state in the hearing of said staff officer, “By God, sir, this is the damnedest outrage ever perpetrated in the annals of history, keeping my men out here in the cold without food,” or words to that effect.
Specification 2. In this, that Brig. Gen. W. W. Loring, P. A. C. S., did forward to the War Department, without disapproval, a petition which was united in by a number of officers of his command, notwithstanding said petition was in violation of the Army Regulations and subversive of good order and military discipline. All this at or near Romney, Va., on or about the 26th of January, 1862.
T. J. JACKSON,
RICHMOND, VA., February 12, 1862.
Hon. J.P. BENJAMIN, Secretary of War:
SIR: In compliance with your request of this morning I have the honor to supply the following answer to the charges preferred against me by Maj. Gen. T. J. Jackson:
To the 1st specification of 1st CHARGE, I need only reply that on beginning the march on the 1st of January I received a note from General Jackson requesting to see me in Winchester, 4 miles in rear. Before leaving I directed my inspector-general to go forward with a field officer from each brigade and select a suitable encampment, giving him instructions as to location and comfort, and as soon as possible joined the command before its encampments were made, examined and approved the arrangements. This allegation is therefore without foundation.
2d specification. General Jackson and a portion of his staff were in front of the advance guard at the time and place specified, and learned before I did that the advance scouts had fallen in with the enemy’s picket. The first information received by me was from an officer of his staff, directing a force to be thrown upon and over the hill on our left, to take the enemy in flank and rear. This was done in handsome style by four companies of Gilham’s regiment. The evidence of the promptness of the movement is found in the fact that they killed 4--as I was informed--and took 8 prisoners of a flying picket. Simultaneously another force was thrown upon a hill on our right flank, which moved to the front in splendid style at double-quick. Night came on, and as a snow-storm was brewing, the command bivouacked on the road-side, by order of General Jackson.
3d specification. The halt of the head of the column mentioned in this specification was in consequence of the line of march being enfiladed by the enemy’s cannon on a hill in front and flanked by a party of his infantry stationed on a wooded hill on our left. The force---militia--sent by General Jackson the evening before to attack this flank having failed to drive off the enemy, upon consultation with General Jackson I ordered a regiment to proceed at double-quick and dislodge him. This order was countermanded by General Jackson to await re-enforcements, and the delay was occasioned by him and not by me. I moved upon Bath without his orders and upon my own responsibility, notifying him of the fact.
4th specification. I can scarcely be held responsible for the results when I had no control over the cause. That portion of my command was rendered unfit for active service by marches of cruel severity, which prostrated it, was a fault, but can only be attributed to him who ordered it. I obeyed the instructions of my superior. While I gave every attention in my power to the march, the state of the roads and the inclemency of the weather rendered it impossible to avert the sickness and suffering of the troops. It is hardly possible that an important expedition could have been frustrated, for this inefficient part of my force, as stated, was but one-third of the whole, and only that particular force was called for.
5th specification. An intimate acquaintance with the Army Regulations and the customs of the service for some twenty-six years has failed to inform me of the fact that a respectful and truthful statement by commanders of the condition of their commands was other than a duty, and when it was accompanied by a request for the amelioration of their condition, humanity and the customs of the service require their common superior to give it his most serious consideration.
1st specification of 2D CHARGE. I have no recollection of the occurrence here stated. My staff officer, who was with me all that day, assures me that it did not take place. I do recollect perfectly that my command was kept standing in the road for several hours on the 2d, in order to allow General Jackson’s old brigade to keep in advance; also owing to the mismanagement, for which none of my command was responsible, the baggage wagons, with food, tents, and bedding, did not reach camp that night, and also that the command, without any cause known to me, was kept shivering in their camp on the 3d for a long time. It is quite possible that my just indignation for this utter disregard for human suffering found expression in words. I do not recollect it.
The 2d specification has already been answered.
Should this reply be deemed not satisfactory, I respectfully request that a court-martial be ordered to ascertain the merits of the case.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
W. W. LORING,