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78 Series I Volume XXXIX-I Serial 77 - Allatoona Part I

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Page 78 KY., SW. VA., TENN., MISS., ALA., AND N. GA. Chapter LI.

parties and punishment inflicted upon the guilty; that he had turned the matter over to his inspector-general, with instructions to make vigorous inquiry and report. His inspector-general, Captain B. H. Allen, also wrote a letter stating that the matter had been turned over to him by General Morgan, and after the most diligent inquiry, although he had heard a great many rumors on the subject of these depredations complained of, he had not yet been able to obtain any tangible legal evidence that the alleged robberies had been committed. Although Captain Allen, the inspector-general to whom the matter was referred, was one of the parties who was implicated by general rumor, the following letter was sent to him:

CAMP NEAR BRISTOL, July 3, 1864.

CAPTAIN: Your communication in reply to our joint communication of the 1st instant in relation to the bank robberies that were committed by our command in Kentucky is received. You state that, although you have heard a great many rumors on the subject, you have not yet been able to get hold of any tangible evidence that the alleged robberies were ever committed, and you ask us to furnish you with any that may be in our possession. If a court of inquiry is called there will be abundant evidence furnished to convict at least two commissioned officers, two non-commissioned officers, and two privates, also a courier on General Morgan's staff. It will also be proved that one of the non-commissioned staff has publicly asserted that he participated in the Mount Sterling robbery, and unless fairly dealt with will expose the whole matter. It will also he proved that a party belonging to Company A of Second Battalion has stated publicly that he was sent for the front to participate and aid in these robberies, and refused, stating that he would prefer to remain with his company. There are many other things of this nature can all be established before any court of competent jurisdiction, but the names of the witnesses are withheld for the present until such a court can be convened. There is a young man in Captain N. W. Lea's company who states that he was sent by Doctor Williams (General Morgan's ordnance officer), when at Lexington, to procure a candle; that in passing down Main street he saw a light in a building and entered it for the purpose of getting it; that he saw Captain Edward P. Byrne, chief of artillery, taking possession of a number of bags of specie; that he handed a number of these bags to Humphrey Castleman, who continued to receive as many as he could carry away on his horse; that Captain Byrne then gave him one of the bags and told him to keep it until called for, first inquiring his name and the company to which he belonged; that he received the bag, which contained $650 in silver, and not having an opportunity to return it to Captain Byrne, he had brought it to Abingdon, Va., where he had deposited it with a prominent citizen, informing him how he had obtained it, and requesting him to keep it until called for. This we consider "tangible evidence" that the "alleged" robberies were certainly committed, and we would again urge that they be investigated.

Very respectfully, &c.,

Soon after I sent this communication I was sent for to come to Abingdon. On my arrival I was called upon to give the names of the witnesses referred to. I did so, and expected, of course, that their testimony would have been taken. On the contrary, the inspector-general, the very party who had been appointed to take testimony, called on Humphrey Castleman, and instead of taking his evidence told him that "mum was the word. " I use his language.

After waiting two weeks for Captain Allen to take the evidence of Mr. George W. McCullough (the young man who had received the bag of specie), and finding that he did not do it, I took him before a justice of the peace and had him to give his affidavit of all that he knew in the matter. My reason for doing this was that I saw that instead of the witnesses being examined they were sent to distant parts of the country, and all privates who dared to speak openly of the conduct of the expedition were arrested. I therefore feared that the power of superior authority would soon transport all "tangible evidence" so far out of the way that when the case was solemnly called up for investi-


Page 78 KY., SW. VA., TENN., MISS., ALA., AND N. GA. Chapter LI.

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