I cannot see that there is any "threatening tone" about my letter of September 30. Certainly it was not intended. you cannot construe my expressed determination to relieve myself of unjust and atrocious misrepresentation and injury by any means in my power a "threat;" if it indeed be one, it certainly cannot be addressed to you. It can only apply to those who have done me the wrong, or who, by failing to do me common justice, have suffered, if not encouraged, a great wrong to be done to my character and reputation. Certainly the determination to right myself if possible, is no "threat." Let us understand. I have strictly obeyed your orders in Virginia and endeavored in all fidelity to accomplish your wishes. I have toiled and fought earnestly and with all my heart; others shamefully failed even to do their simplest duty. Through their failure all your expectations were not realized. The public, through willful and determined slander and misrepresentation, have thrown the blame on me. you know that this is atrociously unjust. Do you not think that ordinary justice requires that you, as general-in-chief, under whose orders I acted and who have borne private testimony to my conduct, should bear that testimony publicly? No one will deny that my character and reputation as a soldier have been deeply I may say irretrievably, injured by these infamous slanders. No man unacquainted with the whole facts can fail to believe what is said in view of the action of the Government.
What is that action? Officers charged with the gravest crimes are not only not tried but absolutely advanced to higher commands. The Government refuses to allow me to publish the facts. I am sent off to the far West. The general-in-chief declines to acknowledge my services in any public manner.
Who can fail to believe that I stand condemned by the Government I have served so faithfully. Would you not believe so if you knew no more than the public? Why do you refuse do me this simple act of justice? There must be a reason for it. Who is to be shielded by unjustly ruining, or allowing to be ruined, my reputation and my honor as a soldier? It is very sure that these questions must be answered some time. Why are McClellan, Porter, and Griffin retained in high commands with such charges of treachery and baseness hanging over them? Do you not believe these charges true? Are they not substantiated to your satisfaction by the papers attached to the report containing them? Did not both you and the President know before the battles at Manassas, from Porter's intercepted dispatches, that he was likely to do precisely what he did? The President himself told me so.
I would not care to pres these charges if the Government would only do me the barest justice. Acknowledge publicly, as has been done privately, by the whole administration, that I did my duty bravely and skillfully in Virginia, and I have nothing further to say about what you do with the criminals who betrayed the country. If public interests require that men be shielded from punishment, be it so.
I am informed that you object to publishing such and order; that the Cabinet and President are willing.
You say truly that there are things you cannot explain, but surely you do not expect me to remain quiet under such circumstances, or to fail to use all means in my power, military, political, and social, to set myself right. It is now too late to set matters right by a court, which has been long enough delayed to allow the full impression to be made against me. you assume that I confine my charges to Porter and Griffin. My report tells another story. The greatest criminal is McClellan, and my charge is direct and plain against him. Your reason