WASHINGTON, D. C., July 5, 1865.
Major-General H. W. HALLECK, U. S. A.,
New York, N. Y.:
GENERAL: Your note in reply to my letter of yesterday's date was received this afternoon too late to be answered before you left the city.
I regret that you did not see fit to make the very brief examination of you files necessary to make it plain to you that the correction asked for in my letter was due to me. I was at least entitled to an assurance that such examination should be made at the earliest practicable moment. Certainly the three weeks which you are to pass in New York afford ample time to inspect very fully all your papers bearing on the subject of my letter. As you do not promise an examination now or at any other time I am constrained to say to you that the statement which, "trusting to your memory and without inspection of your files," do you make is altogether unsatisfactory, and leaves me at a loss to determine whether you are to be understood as denying that you sent the dispatch to the Secretary of War which was the subject of my letter, or whether, in the face of my positive denial, you mean to insist that the dispatch was a correct transcript, or anything like it, of a report made to you by me. If it be your purpose to make such a statement, as an answer to my deliberate and unqualified assertion that no such report as that attributed to me was ever made by me, it becomes more necessary than ever that you should examine your files and furnish me with the papers I ask for. In short, general, I utterly deny that the dispatch purporting to have been sent by you to the Secretary of War was based upon any report from me such as is therein stated, and I therefore call upon you either to disavow this dispatch or to furnish me with a copy of the report attributed to me. In almost any other case this question could be easily and conclusively decided by a reference to the official files at the headquarters of the department which you then commanded; but I have ascertained, general, that when you left the West your ordered that portion of the dispatches and reports concerning the operations around Corinth which bore upon this question to be cut of the official books and brought with you to Washington, leaving the official records in Saint Louis mutilated and incomplete.
These dispatches thus taken are believed to be in your possession. It is not necessary for me to comment upon this transaction further than to say that it manifestly leaves the question I make with you to be settled by my files and those now in your possession, together with the evidence of officers, telegraphic operators, and others whose duties and position enable them to speak with knowledge on the subject.
I trust, general, that you understand that this correspondence has not been begun by me without due consideration, nor without abundant testimony to maintain my position on the question involved. You must therefore see that the matter cannot be disposed of by such a note as yours of this date. The case between us is very simple. You are believed to have sent a dispatch to the Secretary of War asserting that I had made certain reports. I deny utterly that I did so. The onus of proof is therefore with you, and I might well be contented to rest the matter here, but it is proper to inform you that I have abundant evidence to establish the negative of the statement contained in the dispatch attributed to you as far as that dispatch as that dispatch relates to me. My main purpose in writing to you on the subject was to give you the opportunity to explain the matter in a manner that, while it would relieve me from the misconception arising from your dispatch, would leave unimpaired the