Floyd and Buckner believed), I do not perceive the grounds upon which I am to be censured. If, on the contrary, the surrender was improper (as was my opinion), I do not understand why I am censured, when it is known that I opposed it and did all I properly could to prevent it.
The President will perceive upon examination of the documents and proofs that this view of the case is fully made out.
Under these circumstances, that I should be suspended from command and held up before the country as a culprit for nearly four months may well excite surprise. If I am to continue in the service, I respectfully submit that such treatment is not likely to increase my efficiency for command or my usefulness as an officer.
The facts in regard to General Floyd have all been laid before the public by the publication of his official report and his answers to the interrogatories of the Secretary of War by the committee of the House of Congree. The same committee summoned me before [it] and propounded interrogatories, which, from motives of delicacy, I declined answering. It then requested copies of my supplemental report and my answer to the Secretary's interrogatories and the accompanying proofs, which I declined furnishing, upon the ground that proper respect for the Government forbade it while the Government had the subject under consideration. Since then I have seen from the Richmond papers that the President declined furnishing copies of them under a resolution of the House, upon the ground that he considered it inexpedient to do so. While, therefore, I am held suspended from command for so long a period, the public are denied the means of judging how or in what I have been derelict in duty. Is this right? Can the President, as the Commander-in-Chief of the Army, reconcile it to his sense of justice longer to hold me in my present position? If the pressure f public duty has heretofore been heavy upon his time, as I am persuaded is the case, surely the great lapse of time since my suspension will excuse me for again calling his attention to the subject.
If the President were not in possession of the facts I should feel it my duty to demand an investigation by a court of inquiry, but as these are fore him and made clear by the proof, such proceeding would seem to me wholly useless, even if the officers necessary to constitute the court could be spared from duty in the field. I have submitted to the judgment of the Government as patiently as possible when conscious of the commission of no wrong. If I were informed in what my conduct was considered censurable, so that I might have an opportunity of explanation or refutation, I should not deem it my duty to take the final step now proposed. That I should continue patient under indefinite suspension could hardly be expected.
If the Government does no need or does not want my services, it is my duty to retire. I have no wish to be in the way. I am unwilling to embarrass it by holding on to a position which I only accepted in the hope of rendering some service. It is s painful necessity which forces me to retire at a time of so much peril to the country, but if the President cannot now dispose of the case, I feel that proper self-respect and personal dignity leave me no alternative but to retire from the service. If, therefore, no action is deemed proper in response to this communication, I respectfully tender this as my resignation.
Being at present at Tupelo, with the headquarters of the army, I for ward this through General Bragg.
With great respect, your obedient servant,
GID. J. PILLOW,
Brigadier-General, C. S. Army.