War of the Rebellion: Serial 003 Page 0314 OPERATIONS IN MO., ARK., KANS., AND IND. T. Chapter X.

Search Civil War Official Records

to the quartermaster, he became greatly exasperated, and asked me how I dared to give orders to his quartermaster.

I explained to him that the order was given to the depot quartermaster and not to his quartermaster; that the order was given to supply a great public want, which he had failed to attend to; that under the circumstances I felt it to be my duty to give the order; that for proper and lawful purposes I had the right to give orders to any officer of the general staff not on his staff. He said all the officers of the general staff were his and subject to his orders only. I replied that the officers of the general staff were part of the Army, and intended to supply its wants; that if he took from the line all the officers of the general staff and left the division commanders without, and then inhibited them from giving lawful and proper orders to supply the Army, he was centralizing the powers of the whole Army in himself.

Finding his exasperation increased, and he having become exceedingly harsh, so much so that I found it impossible to stand his violence of temper, I left his quarters and went to my own. On the third day after this I sent in my resignation. Unjust and severe as I felt was General Polk's censure for attending to a pressing want of the Army which he had neglected to attend to, though his attention had been three times and on as many different days called to it, still I would not have tendered my resignation had this been the first or even second act of injustice or harshness to me.

Shortly after the Army took possession of Columbus, and while the whole Army was under my immediate command under him, he directed me to issue an order declaring martial law over Columbus. I endeavored to dissuade him from this measure, saying that there was no necessity for declaring martial law; that the people of the town were our friends; that he had in his proclamation promised to protect their rights and uphold the laws and support the civil authorities; that I could control the town and the Army with an armed police, under a chief of police or military governor, as well as if martial law were declared.

I further remarked that martial law was the organization adopted and enforced by the Lincoln Government and Army; that it was the expedient of tyrants and usurpers, and that the South had nowhere adopted it; that it was a violation of the constitutional rights of the citizen, and could only be justified by extreme necessity, involving the public safety.

The argument had no influence with him; he said I should issue the order.

I begged him to excuse me, and if he would put the measure in operation, to please issue the order himself, saying that I had conscientious convictions against its legality, and that my name should not be connected with the infantry of such a measure in the future history of this war.

My opposition to the measure and my refusal to issue the order exasperated him beyond control; his rage exceeded anything I had ever seen in a sane man. He said he would show me "whether his subalterns should dictate to him his orders." Finally Colonel De Russy, of his staff, interposed, begged him to be calm, read authority on the subject, and ultimately succeeded in inducing him to abandon the measure. Nor was this all.

On the 7th day of November last General Polk ordered me to cross the river with four regiments of my division, to meet the enemy, then landed and advancing upon the position of Colonel Tappan's regiment