Gen. E.O.C. Ord, commander of the Department of Virginia and North Carolina, wrote to Brig. Gen. George F. Shepley, who had recently been relieved of his command of the Division of Eastern Virginia, to defend a military commission inquiry into activities of officers in the area.
Shepley had complained that he could not defend himself because he was not privy to the testimony, which was all secret.
Ord wrote that the commission "was not intended for the trial of any officers; it was to investigate and report upon the nature and extent of a certain illicit trade."
He assured Shepley that he was not relieved of his command because of the inquiry, but because Gen. Benjamin Butler, who also had been relieved of his command, told Ord that he intended to move Shepley from an administrative post to a field command.
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