the impropriety of any stigma being attached to us on account of others' default, he nevertheless studiously avoided, except by word of mouth, any retraction or any written evidence of his inconsiderate and evidently egotistical announcement of the affair at Springfield.
I leave it to your judgment, general, whether or not, under these circumstances, I should forbear to characterize his conduct as it appears to deserve. So far from Major Zagonyi's command being the only one engaged at Springfield, it was proved in the court of inquiry [called for, but of which the full report* never saw the light] that the dragoons were the second in the order of time into the field, and were the last to leave it. It was also proved to that court's satisfaction that the major gave no orders, either to his men or Major White's command, and consequently that the conduct of the dragoons in engaging the infantry of the enemy almost single handed, after his cavalry had been detached and was in the road to Springfield, was purely a voluntary, and, therefore, whether wise or not, no cowardly choice of alternatives.
It was proved, finally, that if Major Zagonyi could not recognize us as being in the field, he could count our dead and wounded as his own, barely leaving us a dozen or so as testimony to our presence and the aim of the enemy.
For reasons personal to Major Zagonyi all these facts were suppressed from publication, and the want of generosity shown by that officer has been allowed to take form in the general misconception of the public in our regard.
I beg, general, while apologizing for this personal explanation, which you have been kind enough to permit, to append the report* sent by me, shortly after the affair of Springfield, to my colonel, and also a copy of a letter in reference to this subject to Major Zagonyi. Hoping these documents transmitted will assist to do that justice to my men which I really believe they deserve,
I am, general, your obedient servant,
Captain Irish Dragoons, Twenty-third Illinois Volunteers.
Major General H. W. HALLECK,
Commanding Dep't of the West, Hdqrs. Saint Louis, Mo.
SAINT LOUIS, MO., November 12, 1861.
SIR: I have waited with a very natural impatience for your twice-promised amende of the manner in which the services of the Irish Dragoons in the late charge at Springfield have been ignored. Not seeing any publication calculated to do them justice, and feeling that they should not be unjustly debarred from whatever merit they may have deserved and you confess to belong to them, not even for the Body-Guard, I now ask you very earnestly to fulfill your promise. For myself I have nothing to ask; for them, and more particularly for the sake of the brigade to which they belong, I not only ask but demand equal and exact justice. A soldier yourself, you can appreciate my anxiety for the good fame of my command. Wounded as I am, you can only be the more willing to render further requests and other proceedings unnecessary.
I remain, sir, yours, &c.,
Captain, Irish Brigade.