War of the Rebellion: Serial 003 Page 0313 Chapter X. ENGAGEMENT AT BELMONT, MO., ETC.

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COLUMBIA, TENN., January 16, 1862.

Honorable J. P. BENJAMIN, Secretary of War:

I have received your dispatch, requesting me to explain mine, and the cause of resignation.* I resigned for the reason stated in my dispatch; the facts were as stated in that dispatch.

Major-General Polk, by orders, had taken from me, successively, three quartermasters, two commissaries, my surgeon, engineer, and ordnance officer, and assigned me no others, with this exception, viz: when he took my last quartermaster and I complained of the act, he issued an order appointing a citizen of Memphis, by the name of R. P. Baugh, quartermaster, with the rank of captain, and assigned him to duty with my division. I declined to receive this citizen quartermaster, on the ground that the President alone possessed the power of appointment; that General Polk's appointment was illegal and void, and that even if Baugh had given bond and security, as required by law, still thee appointment would be illegal and his acts all void.

General Polk had, by general orders, prohibited officers of the general staff from receiving orders from any officer but himself. My remonstrances against thus being deprived of my staff, respectfully made, only exasperated him. Being thus stripped of my staff, and inhibited from giving orders to the general staff, I was left without the means of supplying any wants of my command; and I felt that I was reduced to the position of a cipher, and was valueless to the service.

I had occupied this position for more than a month, but being without a remedy, and unwilling at such a time to quit the service, I had submitted.

The circumstances which led to my resignation were as follows, viz: Soon after General Polk, had resumed command (after recovering from the injury received by the explosion of a gun), the army horses and mules were dying for the want of enough food. Upon the fact being made known to me, I reported it to General Polk. He said he would attend to it, but did not. In the course of a few days I again reported that the want was not supplied, and that the horses and mules were dying in great numbers. He again said he would have the necessary orders given; still nothing was done; and for the third time I brought the subject to his attention, and he again promised that he would see to it.

At length General Cheatham, the commander of field batteries and of cavalry corps, came to me and urged me to take measures to supply forage, saying that if it was not done the horses and mules of the Army would all die. Thereupon I sent for the depot quartermaster (my last division quartermaster), and gave him orders to send special agents of the department to the interior of the country to collect and buy forage, and to send along a number of army wagons to haul it to the railroad and river as promptly as possible. The result was that in a few days, we had a supply of forage, which lasted until about the 20th of December.

On the 24th of December I again reported that we were out of forage, and that the horses were dying again. He replied that he would see to it. I remarked that the quartermaster staff was not an efficient one, and that unless he did more than barely give orders, hay, &c., would not be had in the required amount.

I then explained to him the measures I had previously taken, which I have already explained above. Upon learning that I had given orders


*Neither found.