order, and repeated it to General Buckner as his own before it was executed, as is distinctly stated in General Buckner's report. In proof of the correctness of this explanation and of the necessity of my order I refer to Colonel Gilmer's supplemental report. I learn with surprise from your communication of October 21 that his supplemental report was not filed, or, if field, was not laid before you. When last in Richmond, upon my written application you made an order directing him to make a supplemental report upon the points under consideration. He being on duty in that city, I had a right, after the lapse of a month, to suppose that document was on file in the Department and was before you. I find, however, in your dispatch of October 21 this sentence:
His (Colonel Gilmer's) supplemental report, if made, has not been laid before me. Should it satisfy me that I have done you injustice, I new not assure you, general, that it will give me great pleasure to repair it.
From this it is manifest that no proof, other than the circumstances given by me in explanation, was before the Department when your letter of October 21 was written.
Having it in my power to place before you proofs which I am persuaded will be satisfactory, I shall cause to be laid before you as promptly as possible, in the shape of supplemental reports, official statements of Brigadier General B. R. Johnson and Forrest, and Colonel Gilmer. They will accompany this communication, except
Colonel Gilmer's report, which as early as possible I shall cause to be laid before you.
The labors I have performed in behalf of the cause in which we are engaged, and the sacrifices I have endured, prove my devotion, and should satisfy the President that I did not desire to quit the service until we had achieved the independence of the country; but I have felt and still feel deeply aggrieved by the order of the government, knowing that it is founded in error and is unjust. Until the merits of the case shall have been passed upon by the Prescient with these proofs before him (however indifferent I feel about the position I hold), I cannot and never contemplated retiring. Holding myself subject to the orders of the Government and in communication with Major-General Breckinridge's headquarters, I shall await its action.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
GID. J. PILLOW,
Brigadier-General, C. S. Army.
Brief of General Pillow for the Secretary of War.
A preliminary question for consideration is, was my letter of October 10 a resignation in fact or in law? I deny that it is. This will be settled by the letter itself. If the letter was nota resignation, should not the letter of the honorable Secretary of October 21 be withdrawn?
The order complained of as unjust is in the following language, viz:
* * * It is impossible to acquit Brigadier General Gideon J. Pillow of grave errors in the military operation of the army at Donelson, resulting in its surrender.
In reply to my application for an explanation and specification of the errors ascribed to me, it is said that my order calling off the
pursuit (after the main battle of February 15 ha been fought, and ordering the reoccupation of our works) defeated the previously-settled determination of a council of general officers, held on the night of February 16, to retreat from the battle-field on February 15, and was a grave error of judgment.