War of the Rebellion: Serial 009 Page 0165 Chapter XX. BATTLE OF ROANOKE ISLAND, N. C.

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restore the Legion, as it was promised me, to its full force. Instead of this I respectfully complain that the two companies and five pieces of artillery have been ordered to be detached from my Legion and to be retained in this department under General Huger. I earnestly insist that I may be allowed to take all my Legion to the command of General Johnston.

I had been assigned to the Chowan District, North Carolina, as an independent command, attached to the department of General Huger. His notification, then, to the Department, that in the organization of the brigades of his department I was supernumerary, was without any meaning; except that he desired a new organization and to exclude my command from his department. He might have taken a more direct and ingenuous way of getting clear of me, and I would have heartily co-operated with him. Nothing could be more agreeable to me than to be removed from his command to that of General Johnston. Please, then, express to the President my grateful acknowledgment for his order for the change of my command to the Army of the Potomac; and when you tell me that the motive of this order is that General Johnston may assign to me the command of a brigade, thus enabling the President to retain me in the service without loss of rank in the only manner allowed by law, it relieves me from much oppression of feeling and from all apprehension of his censure for my part in the defense of Roanoke Island, and I will with alacrity obey his orders and report cheerfully to General Johnston. Indeed, had it been otherwise, and if I had been driven from both rank and command, I would have volunteered in the ranks rather than have been driven from the service; but I deem it may imperative duty to the country, in justice to the President, the War Department, General Huger, and myself to demand a court of inquiry, which I do, as to the defenses of Roanoke Island, involving the conduct thereby of all who are accountable for their conduct, or at least my own responsibility. By the President's late message to Congress I see that he is awaiting official information respecting the humiliating surrender of Roanoke Island. I now, as early as I could, send to you ample official information, and beg you to lay it before him, with my request to give it his critical attention. If I have been lagging or lacking in duty let me by condignly punished. I leave judgment upon the conduct of all others to the proper authorities and tribunals. I ask only for stern justice-court of inquiry-and am ready to make any more sacrifice which may be required of me for the public defense.

For your kind leave of absence for twenty days please accept my thanks. I wish only a few days to protect my family and property from approaching danger, and will at the earliest moment within twenty days report to you in person.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,



Honorable J. P. BENJAMIN, Secretary of War.



August 23, 1862.

Respectfully forwarded to the Secretary of War for the information of Congress.


Major and Assistant Adjutant-General.