War of the Rebellion: Serial 001 Page 0657 Chapter VIII. CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.-UNION.

Search Civil War Official Records

The commander of Fort Cobb will make the necessary preparations for the abandonment of that post, and hold his command in readiness for a prompt movement.

By order of Brigadier-General Harney:

S. WILLIAMS,

Assistant Adjutant-General.

SAINT LOUIS ARSENAL, March 19, 1861.

Colonel L. THOMAS, Adjutant-General U. S. Army, Washington City:

COLONEL: I received to-day through the department headquarters Special Orders, Numbers 74, from your office, assigning the command of the troops and offenses at this post to Captain N. Lyon, Second Infantry.* This order I am informed has not been accompanied by any explanation, but I have since received from the department headquarters a copy of the instructions sent to Captain Lyon, directing him "not to regard the officers and men of the Ordnance Department as forming a part of his command."

Having been assigned to the command of this arsenal, by telegraphic orders, at a moment of great excitement and anxiety of its safety, and every requirement of the law having been fulfilled to enable me to exercise command over troops of the line stationed here at the time of my arrival, and subsequently confirmed in the command (after Captain Lyon's arrival) by the terms of your telegraphic dispatch, dated February 11, 1861, stating "the command of the mixed troops belongs to Major Hagner," I need not tell you with what surprise this order was received. As it comes after all excitement in this community has been allayed; after all the necessary defenses for the arsenal have been long since arranged and completed by me in a manner so imposing as to impress all visitors with the conviction of our thorough preparation against illegal attempts, and without one work of explanation to save the pride of a soldier of twenty-five years' active service from the reproached implied by being displaced by a junior in years, in length of service, and in Army rank in the command of the defenses of his post, you cannot doubt, sir, that the surprise is accompanied by great mortification.

If the command of mixed troops belonged to Major Hagner on the 11th of February, and any course of argument has since proven to the satisfaction of those in authority that that command no longer belongs to him, I appeal to the high since of justice of the General-in-Chief, to his own well-deserved and well-known soldier's pride, whether it was not due to me that that fact should be stated in orders if it induced my displacement. Had any personal impeachment been urged, ought not any long service, and hitherto good standing in my profession have secured me a hearing before condemnation? Should it now be that my relatives and friends, in and out of the Army, should be left to dread that one who had, on more than one occasion, received the praise of the General-in-Chief, has now done something or omitted to the something forfeiting his good opinion for competency in the performance of a trust coming his good opinion for competency in the performance of a trust committed to him? May I not hope, therefore, that some explanatory statement shall be published in this case?

I have been informed by Captain Lyon to-day that he has used efforts or made application to obtain this command from me. What kind they have been I do not known, but as no communication has passed through his commanding officer, as prescribed by Army regulations, and no previous whisper of the use or contemplated use of such efforts had reached

---------------

*See inclosure to Harney to Thomas, March 20, 1861, p. 658/

---------------

42 R R