Monday, July 18, 2011

A Mortified General

From the New York Times, July 20, 1861.
General Order No. 18 was issued on July 18, 1861.  It was a reminder to the Union troops to behave themselves.

McDowell's general order began by expressing disgust at what was happening (from The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Series I Volume II, Part I)
It is with the deepest mortification the general commanding finds it necessary to reiterate his orders for the preservation of the property of the inhabitant of the district occupied by the troops under his command.

Hardly had we arrived at this place when, to the horror of every right-minded person, several houses were broken open and others were in flames by the act of some of those who, it has been the boast of the loyal, came here to protect the oppressed and free the country from the domination of a hated party. 

And this is how the New York Times reported It:

This afternoon General Order No. 18 was read to all the troops under Gen. McDowell's command, both at Centreville and Fairfax Court-house, prohibiting theft of every description and kind, and enjoining respect for persons and property, stating the least penalty for violation would be incarceration in the Alexandria jail, and for crimes of magnitude the severest penalties known to military law. 

The order also stated that we had invaded Virginia to restore persons to their lawful rights, and to secure their good-will. The soldiers were not at any time to be the judge of the acts of the Southern people, and to take upon themselves the propriety of punishment, which would frustrate the designs of the Government. 

To this the troops acceded by clapping of hands and huzzas for their Commander.
Great pains are being taken by responsible men, visiting the seat of war from Washington, to impress upon the people that the Government will protect them in the enjoyment of their rights, and that this war is for she purpose of maintaining our nationality. 

General Irvin McDowell (

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