Valley of the Shadow


In the aftermath of the Confederate sacking of Chambersburg, Cameron writes to President Lincoln requesting that he remove the department commander. Cameron also reports on the extent of the damage to the town.


To President

May I call your immediate attention to the telegram of yesterday from the Committee of safety addressed to the Secretary of War arguing a change of Commanders for this military Department The Burning of Chambersburg has created great excitement & indignation & whether right or wrong so much has centered on Genl Couch as utterly to destroy his usefulness all the business part of the Town with its mills manufactories and public buildings are in ashes & more than two thousand (2000) people made homeless. The people charge him with abandoning them on the first approach of the marauders. we need a commander here who has the confidence of all classes and who has a stake in our welfare & our people complain that after Sending to the field a couple of hundred thousand men we should have a commander belonging to our own State. Genl Cadwalader has been put here under the orders of Gen Couch though he ranks him and while he is willing to serve in any capacity he is entirely useless under an inefficient Commander in his present position he is useless because powerless but give him the Command of the Dept & Such is the Confedence the people of the state have in him that troops will at once rally to his command. I believe he will be able to get troops enough not only for the defense of this Valley but to greatly assist in defending Washington. Give him the command and you will not only satisfy your friends but do your Country an essential Service

Simon Cameron
Chairman Committee of Safety

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