War of the Rebellion: Serial 003 Page 0317 Chapter X. ENGAGEMENT AT BELMONT, MO., ETC.

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HDQRS. FIRST GRAND DIV., ARMY OF THE MISSISSIPPI,

Humboldt, March 12, 1862.

Honorable JEFFERSON DAVIS,

President C. S. America:

SIR: I have not had a moment I could call my own since I received from the War Department a copy of the very extraordinary letter addressed to it by General Pillow [January 16, 1862], giving what he styles his reasons for resigning his appointment as brigadier and I have now time only to say that I have collected from the colonels under his command at the battle of Belmont written proofs of the most flagrant misstatements of facts and events that could well be imagined; and so of other things. So soon as I can find time from my absorbing public duties to attend to my private, I will present this matter in the shape of a reply to his aspersions.

I have the honor to be, your obedient servant,

L. POLK,

Major-General, Commanding.

HDQRS. FIRST CORPS, ARMY OF THE MISSISSIPPI,

July 22, 1862.

Honorable G. W. RANDOLPH, Secretary of War;

I received in the month of February last a copy of a letter addressed by Brigadier-General Pillow to the Honorable J. P. Benjamin, then Secretary of War, purporting to assign reasons for his resignation. It was sent me by order of the President [under date of January 30, 1862], with the following indorsement, to wit;

The reason stated as given to General Polk is not that reported by General P. The offer to allow the staff officers wanted was a remedy for the complaint; but declining now to return, or to serve elsewhere, the case seems to be closed, except so far as it may be necessary to correct errors, both of fact and military discipline. It may be proper to communicate a copy of the paper to General Polk.

J. D.

My answer to this letter of General Pillow should have been sent forward long ago. The occasion of the delay is that it was received just before the evacuation of Columbus and while I was engaged in the duties growing out of that movement. Since then the heavy pressure of succeeding events, following each other so rapidly, has prevented my attending to any duty that might be postponed.

Immediately after General Pillow's resignation was received by the War Department, the President telegraphed me for the reasons which had induced it. I replied as follows, to wit:

HEADQUARTERS FIRST DIVISION, W. D.

His Excellency JEFFERSON DAVIS, President, &c.:

In reply to your dispatch in regard to the reasons for General Pillow's resignation, I have to say that the reason assigned by him to me was that the Government had not recognized his claims to such higher rank as in his opinion his services warranted, and under the circumstances he felt it his duty to decline further service.

Respectfully, your obedient servant,

L. POLK,

Major-General, Commanding.

In his conversation with me General Pillow said, as he had said to many others, both publicly and privately, that the reason for his resignation was the treatment he had received from the President; that while he had complaints against my administration, the grounds