Army of the Potomac to act in conjunction with the Army of Virginia and between our capital and the enemy.
I thought, and still think, such to be our true policy; and to leave a corps d'armee on this Peninsula at this time, while we have command of the York and James Rivers, is like casting upon the sand the water intended for men dying of thirst. A brigade of fresh troops and one regiment of artillery ought to be here at Yorktown.
But I cannot fail to be aware that while I am absent, and while those with whom I have been serving and from whom I differed in opinion in important matters are in personal intercourse with the sources of power, my reputation may suffer. Often have I been made to feel the evil effects of my zeal in this war, and of having so often foreseen what would happen and what has happened. I urged great exertions eighteen months ago, because I knew the rebels intended to fight hard or to be let alone. As my corps [the Fourth] has been left behind on this Peninsula, and as two brigades have been detached and ordered to report to General Dix, the main object of this note is to ask Your Excellency to maintain me in a command corresponding with my rank. I ask also that you should judge me, if it be necessary to judge me at all, on the testimony of men who are not opposed to me, and who are not embittered, as many in this army are, by want of success, and anxious to throw the blame of failure upon others. Generals Meigs, Barnard, Stoneman, Cochrane, Captain C. C. Suydam [my adjutant-general and one of the best heads in this army], and others can speak of me as I am and tell what I have done. I have done more probably than has been told.
My views of the policy of this war are in hearty, spontaneous accordance with that adopted by Your Excellency, and I trust that you will not restrain me to a narrow command, but will allow me to fill up the Fourth Corps with recruits and to march with it against the enemy. No personal consideration weighs with me, and I obey implicitly any man who is placed over me as my chief.
I am disposed to complain of nothing but a want of opportunity. If Major-General Dix is to leave Fort Monroe I would like his command; but my habits, I think, would enable me to be of more service in the field.
Begging pardon for this liberty, I remain, Your Excellency's most humble servant,
E. D. KEYES,
Major-General, Commanding Fourth Corps.
SPECIAL ORDERS, HDQRS. ARMY OF THE POTOMAC,
No. 245. Alexandria, August 27, 1862.
I. At his own request Brigadier General William F. Barry is relieved from duty as chief of artillery of the Army of the Potomac, and will proceed to Washington, and report to the Adjutant-General of the Army for orders. In issuing this order the general commanding avails himself of the occasion to express his thanks for the zeal and ability General Barry has at all times displayed in the discharge of his duties, and especially for his valuable services in connection with the organization of the artillery of his army.
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By command of Major-General McClellan: