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The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies

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OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, vol 14, Part 1 (Secessionville)
Page 560 COAST OF S. C., GA., AND MID. AND EAST FLA. Chapter XXVI.

CHARLESTON, S. C., June 11, 1862.

General R. E. LEE:

DEAR SIR: It is with extreme reluctance that I address you this letter, but I think it my duty to say what I am about to communicate. General Pemberton does not possess the confidence of his officers, his troops, or the people of Charleston. Whether justly or unjustly, rely upon it the fact is so. I speak with positive certainty. It is useless to inquire into all the reasons for this unfortunate condition of sentiment in both soldiers and people. Such is the deplorable fact.

Yesterday I found some of our best and most influential citizens were actually about to get up a petition asking for his removal. I remonstrated with them against such a proceeding urging that the Government could not condemn (for such would be the effect) an officer of high rank and approved reputation on the score of his extreme unpopularity; but I have very deliberately come to the conclusion that it would be far better to remove General Pemberton honorably and without any intimation of dissatisfaction from this department to some other sphere of duty. I have been urged by many of my most esteemed and prominent fellow citizens to bring this grave matter to your notice in an unofficial and confidential manner. I believe that almost any one whom you could select would be better for us than General Pemberton; not that I pretend to judge of his qualifications, but were these of the very highest character (which I fear they are not) still his usefulness would be utterly destroyed by the entire want of confidence felt in him, I repeat, by officers, men, and people. I believe General Smith, now second in command, would answer very well. I do not know him personally, but he has made quite a favorable impression upon the troops. But I do not propose to make any further suggestions than that General Pemberton should be honorably relieved from the command of this department without the slightest information which could wound his sensitiveness, and that some other, any other, officer should at once be assigned here. Nothing but a solemn sense of duty has compelled me to write this painful letter. And now, my dear general, with perfect confidence in your calm judgment I submit the whole matter to your early and earnest consideration.

Very respectfully, yours,

WM. PORCHER MILES.

[Indorsement Numbers 1.]

Respectfully referred to His Excellency the President. I hardly see how the removal of Pemberton can be avoided. Magruder is the best person that is available to relieve him. Pemberton might go to Bragg or to believe Leadbetter.

R. E. LEE,

General.

[Indorsement Numbers 2.]

Secretary of War for attention.

J. D.

RICHMOND, VA., June 12, 1862.

Gov. FRANCIS W. PICKENS, Columbia, S. C.:

Beauregard has stated that, his own health not being strong, he can-


Page 560 COAST OF S. C., GA., AND MID. AND EAST FLA. Chapter XXVI.
OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, vol 14, Part 1 (Secessionville)
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