War of the Rebellion: Serial 007 Page 0312 OPERATIONS IN KY., TENN., N. ALA., AND S. W. VA. Chapter XVII.

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to divide the country and weaken the influence of the President should be carefully avoided. I can give no explanation to relive him. I can make no defense of myself. If the facts of the case were published to the work as they exist in your office, it would in some degree satisfy the public mind.

I have been careful to avoid any discourtesy to the President. I have avoided everything calculated to excite controversy or create excitement. I have uniformly denied the existence of any motive in the President to do me injustice, and all knowledge or belief of the existence of any secret hostility. I have preserved rigid silence, abstaining from every demonstration of popular sympathy, declining to make speeches (with the exception at Raleigh, N. C., where my remarks were very badly reported). I have violated no law or regulation, except in the publication of my original report at Memphis, which I did, believing that under the circumstances the President would excuse the act. My object was to give the public mind, then greatly excited and greatly depressed, correct information as to the character, extent, and causes of the surrender, and as far as possible to ares the many false reports as to it extent. In doing this I first consulted General A. S. Johnston, and have in my possession his approval of the necessity of its being placed before the public-not his authority for the act. He thought that had better be done by indirection. I chose to do it, avowing the responsibility for the act, and have hereford expressed my willingness to submit to the judgment of the President if he shall consider me censurable for the act. My excuse and apology for it is the peculiar condition of the public [mind] at the time and my own position. I telegraphed Senator Benjamin for permission to publish the report, but failed to get an answer, and afterwards by telegram advised him of what I had done.

I now introduce the subject in this communication as an apology for the offense, that it may remain on record. These last suggestions are not introduced here as strictly pertaining to the subject or argument in hand, but in explanation of matters proper to be understood and as due to myself.

Returning to the more important object of this communication, that is, the injurious effects of the order on my reputation, I desire to say that I am satisfied the President is incapable of being influenced by motives not properly pertaining to the subject-matter; that I myself utterly discredit the report of his alleged secret hostility to me, and that I would not have him relieve me or restore me to command unless from the proofs before him-entitled to his confidence-he shall be satisfied that my conduct in the Donelson affair was blameless. If upon this point his mind is satisfied, then, as an act of justice which I feel sure he will not deny me, I ask the cessation of the punishment, feeling that I have been already deeply injured by it. You, sir, very properly say that you are sure that I only want justice. This is all I want or ask; but, if I have done no wrong, do I get justice when so long held in a position which the world can understand in no other light than as a punishment or as showing unfitness for command?

This is the last communication which I shall address to the President upon this subject, and I ask for it his respectful consideration. I am obliged to submit to his decision. I will sustain [him] and oppose all his enemies in every measure that is proper and right of itself until this struggle is over though he should incarcerate me in a dungeon the balance of my life; but if I am to be continued in a position of so much humiliation, if the best efforts of my life to serve my country are to be thus rewarded, if I possess so little of the respect or sympathy of the