War of the Rebellion: Serial 003 Page 0316 OPERATIONS IN MO., ARK., KANS., AND IND. T. Chapter X.

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tered into my determination and influenced my final conclusion to retire from the service.

It was a painful step, but as I was reluctant to trouble the Government by complaint at a time of great peril to the country and inasmuch as I knew General Polk possessed the full confidence of the President, and as I had never, as I felt, been recognized by the Government, I felt it my duty to silently retire, not even assigning in my resignation any cause, and the same motives would have induced me to remain silent except for the call for an explanation in your dispatch.

After my resignation was delivered to General Polk he sent for me; asked for an explanation of the cause of my resignation.

I at first declined giving any, but upon his insisting I yielded, and gave him the substance of this communication in explanation of my course.

He said our last interview had been the subject of anxious thought; that he believed I was right about the staff; that he would restore my staff and modify his orders, and asked my forgiveness (which I granted), and then asked me to withdraw my resignation, which I declined.

It is proper further to say that after I had reached the depot on my way home I received his order restoring such members of my staff as still remained at Columbus.

Since I reached my residence I am informed that the army, deeply distressed at my departure, were engaged addressing a respectful petition, to the President, expressive of their confidence in me, and requesting him to order me back, when Major-General Polk issued an order intended to suppress this respectfully appeal to the President thus stifling the honest convictions of the army and the sympathy so naturally arising from his injustice to me.

I have seen that order, and though the article of regulations referred to had no application to the case, yet it had the effect designed. This last act of his is a deeper wrong and has done more to shake my confidence in the sense of justice of General Polk than had proceed it.

I have enjoyed an intimate friendship for General Polk for about twenty-five years. As a zealous patriot I admire him, as an eminent minister of the gospel I respect him, but as a commanding general I cannot agree with him.

If I were transferred to another field of duty I would be overshadowed and ranked by the very staff who earned their reputation under me as their chief in the Mexican war, and who are now nearly all distinguished general officers. I must therefore retire. Would to God it were otherwise.

My reasons may not be satisfactory to some but I trust they will be sufficient to protect my reputation against the charges of indifference to the cause of our independence and of a want of patriotism.

I have the fullest confidence in the success of our cause and in the wisdom and judgment of the President; so much so, that I believe be is chosen of God for the work of our national deliverance; but I cannot have the honor of continuing one of his humble instruments in the glorious work.

I am, sir, with great respect, your obedient servant,


Brigadier-General, C. S. A.

(Referred to General Polk January 30, 1862.)