A Confederate General Warns His Commanders
Not to Harass the Locals
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Foraging during wartime often pits an army against its supporters in the civilian population. In his final month of departmental command before returning to the Army of Northern Virginia, Confederate Brigadier General John Nichols warning his soldiers not to molest citizens or their property. [CONFEDERACY]. JOHN ECHOLS.
Broadside. General Orders. Dublin [Virginia], September 5, 1864. 12 x 10 ½ in.
“Frequent complaints having reached these Head Quarters of depredations having been committed upon the property of citizens of South Western Va. and East Tennessee, and of the willful and unnecessary waste of the substance of the country by the straggling squads of men connected with the various command in this Department, the immediate attention of all Commanding Officers is directed thereto; and they are hereby ordered to bring all offenders in this respect to speedy and certain punishment. Officers are responsible for the conduct of their men and they will be held to such responsibility. All citizens, whose property is depredated upon, or whose rights are violated in any way by either the officers or men in this Department, are requested to make complaint thereof to the Head Quarters, stating the names of the offenders, and the commands to which they belong, in order that the cases may be promptly investigated and punishment speedily inflicted and restitution made.”
John Echols (1823-1896) after mustering volunteer forces in the early years of the war, Echols commanded the 27th Virginia Infantry, which fought under Stonewall Jackson at the First Battle of Bull Run. He was wounded during the Valley Campaign and promoted to brigadier general. He then commanded a brigade in Western Virginia, eventually serving as the Department’s commander. He served on a three-man board investigating the fall of Vicksburg. After serving Robert E. Lee in the Army of Northern Virginia, Echols took over command of the Department of South Western Virginia and Eastern Tennessee in 1864. Echols returned to his previous profession of law and served on the committee that worked to get Virginia readmitted to the Union.
Scattered foxing; folds separating in places, minor edge paper loss.