War of the Rebellion: Serial 007 Page 0321 Chapter XVII. CAPTURE OF FORTH DONELSON, TENN.

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command, and the disposition already made of the returned prisoners renders it impossible to place ten regiments of them at your disposal. I regret to hear of your losses, and have expressed my seance of your courage and patriotism; but, as you rightly remark, the question of indemnifying your for the sacrifices of property cannot find a place in this correspondence. It only remains for me to say that, entertaining the opinion expressed in the order of which you complain, I cannot rescind it; and since you make your retirement from service the only alternative, your resignation is accepted.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Secretary of War.

MUFREESBOROUGH, TENN., November 8, 1862.


Secretary of War:

Your communication of October 21 is received. I have not resigned. In my letter of October 10, to which yours is in reply, I used the following language:

Believing now that I am victim of injustice; that my past services are not and never will be appreciated; being without command after every effort on my part to procure one, and believing that I can render the country no service, I am forced to the conclusion that it is my duty to retire from the service. Yet I have determined to make the very last effort at vindication and to procure a command before retiring finally from the service.

Again, I said in that letter:

Protesting, as I solemnly do, against the injustice of this order of the Government (explained above), and claiming a right that this my protest shall be field on record in its archives, and having no command after a month's delay waiting for one, I now inform the Government that I shall proceed to my residence in Tennessee and there await the action and orders of the Government upon this communication. It is proper to state likewise that I never expect to take further part in this struggle unless upon a review of its own action in regard to myself it shall do me full justice. If satisfied no such action on its part will be taken, I shall, of course, promptly forward my resignation.

By no popular or legal interpretation can this language be construed into resignation nor was it so intended. The language use, "will forward my resignation," expressly negatives an excludes the inference that there was a resignation. By its my future course was made to depend upon my conviction that justice would not be done me by the Government. Upon this subject my mind is not satisfied.

The "grave error of judgment" imputed to me is that it was determined in council of February 14, 1862-for no other council was held before the battle-that the army should cut its way through the enemy's line of the investment and retreat from the battle-field, and that, in contravention of this purpose, when we had driven the enemy from his position in the battle of February 15 I ordered the pursuit discontinued and our works reoccupied. The only evidence of this as an error is found in paragraph of General Buckner's report, in which he treats the order as defeating the retreat. My reply has been and is that General Buckner is in error in stating that any purpose was ever determined upon in count or ordered elsewhere previously to the battle to retreat from the battle-field; that my order was made to avoid collision with a large, fresh force of the enemy, which in our then condition we could not have withstood, and that a retreat at that time was impracticable; that General Floyd, my senior in command, approved and adopted my