Brig. Gen. Charles P. Stone's letter to Hon. Benjamin F. Wade,
Chairman of Joint Committee on the Conduct of the War.

OCTOBER 21-24, 1861.Operations on the Potomac near Leesburg, Va., including engagement at Ball's Bluff (21st) and action (22d) near Edwards Ferry
O.R.-- SERIES I--VOLUME 5 [S# 5]

WASHINGTON, D.C., March 6, 1863.

        SIR: During my recent examination (27th ultimo) you asked me the question, "Who arrested you?" My answer was long, and referred to a number of papers which I had not with me. As my answer indicated, I am yet in doubt as to whom the responsibility of the arrest attaches; but I inclose copies of such papers (ten in number) as are now in my possession, and respectfully place them at the disposition of the honorable the committee.

Very respectfully, I am, sir, your most obedient servant,
CHAS. P. STONE,
Brigadier-General.

[Inclosures.]

ORDER, No. ----

WAR DEPARTMENT,
Washington City, D.C., January 28, 1862.

        Ordered, That the general commanding be, and is hereby, directed to relieve Brig. Gen. C. P. Stone from command of his division in the Army of the Potomac forthwith, and that he be placed in arrest and kept in close custody until further orders.

EDWIN M. STANTON,
Secretary of War.


HEADQUARTERS OF THE ARMY,
Washington, February 8, 1862.

 

Brig. Gen. ANDREW PORTER,
Provost-Marshal.

        GENERAL: You will please at once arrest Brig. Gen. Charles P. Stone, U.S. volunteers, and retain him in close custody, sending him under suitable escort by the first train to Fort Lafayette, where he will be placed in charge of the commanding officer. See that he has no communication with any one from the time of his arrest.

Very respectfully, yours,
GEO. B. McCLELLAN,
Major-General.


HEADQUARTERS OF THE ARMY,
Washington, -February 8, 1862.

COMMANDING OFFICER FORT LAFAYETTE.

        SIR: This will be handed to you by the officer sent in charge of Brig. Gen. Charles P. Stone, who is under close arrest.
        You will please confine General Stone in Fort Lafayette, allowing him the comforts due his rank, and allowing him no communication with any one by letter or otherwise, except under the usual supervision.

GEO. B. McCLELLAN,
Major-General.


WASHINGTON, D.C., February 9, 1862

Brig. Gen. S. WILLIAMAS,
Assistant Adjutant-General General, Hdqrs. Army of the Potomac.

        GENERAL: This morning about 1 o'clock I was arrested by Brigadier-General Sykes, commanding city guard, and made a close prisoner by order, as I was informed, of the Major-General Commanding-in-Chief.
        Conscious of being and having been at all times a faithful soldier of the United States, I most respectfully request that I may be furnished, at as early a moment as practicable, with a copy of whatever charges may have been preferred against me and the opportunity of promptly meeting them.

Very respectfully, I am, general, your most obedient servant,
CHAS. P. STONE,
Brigadier-General.


FORT HAMILTON, BAY OF NEW YORK,
April 5, 1862.

Lieut. Col. MARTIN BURKE,
Fort Hamilton.

        COLONEL: I respectfully request of you a copy of the order by authority of which, on the 10th of February last, I was confined in Fort Lafayette.

Very respectfully, I am, colonel, your most obedient servant,
CHAS. P. STONE,
Brigadier-General.

P. S.-- I would also request copies of any letters which have passed between any authority in Washington and yourself relating to the nature and place of my confinement since that date.


HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC,
September 7, 1862.

Hon. E. M. STANTON,
Secretary of War.

        SIR: I have been applied to by General Stone for permission to serve with the Army during the impending movements, even if only as a spectator.
        I have no doubt as to the loyalty and devotion of General Stone, but am unwilling to use his services unless I know that it meets the approval of Government.
        I not only have no objection to his employment in this army, but, more than that, would be glad to avail myself of his services as soon as circumstances permit.

Very truly, yours,
GEO. B. McCLELLAN,
Major-General.


WASHINGTON, D.C., September 25, 1862.

Brig. Gen. L. THOMAS,
Adjutant-General General U. S. Army.

        GENERAL: I have the honor to submit the following for the consideration of the General-in-Chief:
        On the 8th February, 1862, about the hour of midnight, I was arrested by an armed guard, commanded by Brig. Gen. George Sykes, and placed in close confinement, under guard, in the quarters of the officers of the provost-marshal's guard.
        At the time of the arrest I asked of General Sykes the cause, but were informed that he was perfectly ignorant of it.
        Early on the morning of the 9th February I addressed the following letter to the headquarters of the Army of the Potomac, viz:

WASHINGTON, D.C., February 9, 1862.

Brig. Gen. S. WILLIAMS,
Assistant Adjutant-General, Headquarters Army of the Potomac.

GENERAL: This morning, about 1 o'clock, I was arrested by Brigadier-General Sykes, commanding City Guard, and made a close prisoner, by order, as I was informed, of the Major-General Commanding-in-Chief. Conscious of being and having been at all times a faithful soldier of the United States, I most respectfully request that I may be furnished, at as early a moment as practicable, with a copy of whatever charges may have been preferred against me, and the opportunity of promptly meeting them.

Very respectfully, I am, general, your most obedient servant,
CHAS. P. STONE,
Brigadier-General Volunteers.

        The above letter was carried by General Sykes to General Williams early in the morning of the 9th February. No answer has ever been received by me.
        During the night of February 9 I was conveyed, in charge of a lieutenant and two police officers, to Fort Hamilton, New York Harbor, and turned over to the custody of Lieut. Col. Martin Burke, Third Artillery, who immediately sent me in charge of a guard to Fort Lafayette, where I was delivered to Lieutenant Wood, Ninth Infantry.
        At Fort Lafayette the money was taken from my pockets, and I was placed in solitary confinement in a room ordinarily used as enlisted-men's quarters, where I was kept forty-nine days, no letter being allowed to reach or to leave me without inspection.
        During this confinement I applied at different times, through the proper channels, for speedy trial, for charges, for change of locality, and access to the records of my office and headquarters to enable me to prepare for trial, &c., but never received any response to any of my communications.
        After forty-nine days I was transferred to Fort Hamilton, and allowed opportunities of obtaining air and exercise, but the same restrictions were continued on my correspondence.
        I applied for a copy of the order placing me in confinement, but could not obtain it, I applied to my custodian to learn what crime was alleged against me, and he informed me that he knew nothing of it.
        After thus awaiting charges more than two months, I applied for suspension of arrest and opportunity to serve before Yorktown, but received no reply.
        Again, on the occasion of the retreat of our forces from the Shenandoah Valley, I applied for suspension of arrest and opportunity to serve, but received no reply.
        On the 4th of July I again applied, but received no reply.
        I applied for an extension of limits, but received only the reply that the Secretary of War was absent, and no extension could be given until his return.
        Finally, on the 16th August, 1862, after one hundred and eighty-nine days of confinement, I was fully released from arrest, without any order what to do.
        I immediately reported myself for duty.
        I would respectfully represent that the law requires, peremptorily, that when an officer is placed in arrest, it shall be the duty of the officer who orders the arrest to see that the officer arrested is furnished within eight days with a copy of the charges against him. Two hundred and twenty-eight days have now elapsed since my arrest, and not only have no charges been furnished me, but no allegation of crime to justify arrest has been made to me or to those who had me in custody.
        I now respectfully apply again to the General-in-Chief for a copy of any charges or allegations which may have been made against me and the opportunity of promptly meeting them, and in case trial cannot be had, I would respectfully ask that at least the charges may be furnished, so that I may know what falsehoods require refutation and witnesses I shall require to accomplish the refutation.
        It is perhaps superfluous for me to call attention to the fact that those who have, served under my orders, and therefore must be the witnesses of my conduct in service, have been falling in battle and by disease by hundreds and thousands since the date of my arrest. So great have been the casualties, that the command from which I was taken is now reduced more than one-half.

Very respectfully, I am, general, your most obedient servant,
CHAS. P. STONE,
Brigadier-General.


HEADQUARTERS OF THE ARMY,
Washington, September 30, 1862.

Brig. Gen. CHARLES P. STONE,
Washington.

        GENERAL: Your letter of the 25th to the Adjutant-General of the Army has been referred to me for reply.
        I learn from the Secretary of War that the order releasing you from Fort Hamilton also released you from arrest. You therefore are no longer under arrest, but as you have not been assigned to me for duty, I can give you no orders.
        I have no official information of the cause of your arrest, but I understood that it was made by the orders of the President. No charges or specifications are, so far as I can ascertain, on file against you.
        The matter, I learn, is to be immediately investigated, and copies of charges, when preferred, will be furnished you by the Judge-Advocate-General.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
H. W. HALLECK,
General-in-Chief.


WASHINGTON, D.C., December 1, 1862.

Maj. Gen. GEORGE B. McCLELLAN,
U. S. Army, New York.

        GENERAL: At the time of my arrest and imprisonment, in February last, the officer who effected it (Brigadier-General Sykes) claimed to act under your order, although he exhibited no other authority than an armed force.
        Under the eleventh section of the act of Congress approved July 17, 1862, it is made the duty of any officer who shall order the arrest of another to see that a copy of the charges be furnished to the arrested officer within eight days of the date of the arrest; and by proviso the requirements of the section were made applicable to all officers under arrest at the date of the passage of the act.
        Under this law I respectfully request that you will cause me to be furnished with a copy of the charges which led to my arrest, and which I have repeatedly asked for, through the ordinary channels of official communication, without success.

I have the honor to remain, general, with much respect, your most obedient servant,
CHAS. P. STONE,
Brigadier-General.


NEW YORK, December 5, 1862.

Brig. Gen. CHARLES P. STONE,
U. S. Volunteers, Washington, D.C.

GENERAL: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 1st instant.
        The order for your arrest in February last was given by the Secretary of War. I had the order in his handwriting several days before it was finally carried into effect.
        When the order was first given by the Secretary, he informed me that it was at the solicitation of the Congressional Committee on the Conduct of the War and based upon testimony taken by them.
        On the evening when you were arrested I submitted to the Secretary the written result of the examination of a refugee from Leesburg. This information, to a certain extent, agreed with the evidence stated to have been taken by the committee, and upon its being imparted to the Secretary he again instructed me to cause you to be arrested, which I at once did.
        At the time I stated to the Secretary that I could not from the information in my possession understand how charges could be framed against you; that the case was too indefinite.
        On several occasions after your arrest I called the attention of the Secretary to the propriety of giving you a prompt trial, but the reply always was either that there was no time to attend to the case or that the Congressional committee were still engaged in collecting additional evidence in your' case, and were not yet fully prepared to frame the charges.

I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
GEO. B. McCLELLAN,
Major-General, U. S. Army.


[NOTE.]---On the receipt of General McClellan's letter of December-5, 1862, General Stone addressed a letter to him, asking that he might be furnished with the name of the Leesburg refugee referred to and a copy of his statement. The following reply was received:

WILLARD'S HOTEL,
Washington, D.C., December 10, 1862.

Brig. Gen. CHARLES P. STONE,
U.S. Volunteers.

        GENERAL: I am directed by General McClellan to acknowledge the receipt of your note of December 8, 1862.
        The name of the refugee he does not recollect, and the last time he recollects seeing the statement was at the War Department, immediately previous to your arrest. If he has a copy, it is among his official papers, which papers are en route for New York, and will be examined on his return, and if the paper referred to be found among them, he will furnish you with a copy.

I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
N. B. SWEITZER,
Lieutenant-Colonel and Aide-de-Camp.


[NOTE.]--The statement referred to within has not up to this date been furnished me.

CHAS. P. STONE,
Brigadier-General General.
MARCH 6, 1863.

Source:  Official Records of the War of the Rebellion

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