Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln. Volume 8.
Lincoln, Abraham, 1809-1865.

Testimony Concerning Shelling of Houses Near Fort Stevens [1]

A. Executive Mansion
Washington Oct. 10. 1864

I was present at Fort Stevens (I think) on the afternoon of July 12th. 1864, when some houses in front were shelled by our guns, and understanding that the Military officers in command thought the shelling of the houses proper and necessary, I certainly gave my approbation to its being done A. LINCOLN


[1]   Copy, DNA RG 233, Forty-eighth Congress, House of Representatives Collection, Box 162. The copy of this communication is preserved in the record ofPage  43

the proceedings of a board of officers convened by Special Orders No. 228, Headquarters, Department of Washington, September 13, 1864, upon the claim of Catharine Carberry for loss and damage to her property sustained during the raid of the Confederates on Washington in July, 1864. The proceedings refer to the communication as exhibit ``A.'' These proceedings are filed in the Forty-eighth Congress collection presumably because the Committee on the Judiciary had under consideration the bill for claims of Catharine Carberry and Richard Lay (H.R. 5407). The committee reported the bill adversely:

``The claimants insist that these facts make a case of the taking of private property for public use, and entitle them to payment for their losses. Similar claims have been before Congress repeatedly since the close of the war of the rebellion, and have been discussed in many reports of committees, and on the floor of both houses.

``The committee think the law of this subject has become settled that such claims are for losses and damage by war, and not a taking of private property for public use. The subject was most exhaustively examined in a report of the Committee on War Claims in the Forty-seventh Congress. . . . We think their conclusions are sound, but they are fatal to this bill.'' (Forty-eighth Congress, First Session, House of Representatives Report No. 1856).