HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE SOUTH,
Hilton Head, Port Royal, S. C., February 19, 1863.
Major General H. W. HALLECK,
General-in-Chief U. S. Army, Washington, D. C.:
GENERAL: I have the honor to transmit herewith certified copy of an order directing the members of General Foster's staff to quit this department by the first steamer going North. I have been reluctantly compelled to adopt this decisive measure by the unbridled license of the statements made by various members of General Foster's staff; by repeated acts of insubordination on their part, and by their persistently deliberate and systematic adoption of a course directly tending to create a general disaffection, if not an organized unity, amongst the re-enforcements brought from North Carolina to this department by order of the Government.
I found that General Potter, chief of General Foster's staff, and Captain Slaght, his chief quarters, had surreptitiously sent out of this department, with private dispatches to General Foster, the steamer Cahawba, one of the finest and largest vessels of the transportation fleet, and this after my order assuming command and directing that all the marine transportation brought down with the troops from North Carolina be turned over to my chief quartermaster. For this offense and for refusing to turn over such transportation as directed I have places Captain Slaght in arrest.
The same spirit of insubordination was manifested by General Foster's chief medical officer, chief commissary, and other heads of staff departments, every conceivable obstacle being thrown in the way of the execution of my necessary orders, and everything done that could be done to breed disaffection amongst the re-enforcements. Under these circumstances I have no alternative but either to resign the command into the hands of these mutineers or to vindicate my authority by getting rid of their pretensions.
I am happy to be able to add that the spirit and course of conduct herein described were confined strictly to the personal attaches of General Forster, General Naglee and ferry having taken no part therein (further than General Naglee's formal protest); and that the troops brought down from North Carolina, most of them fresh from Yorktown, and never really incorporated in the Eighteenth Army Corps, appearing good spirits, and well satisfied with the prospect of soon being called upon to take part in the operations of the department, which are now only delayed for the arrival of the additional iron-clad monitors daily expected by the admiral.
I have the honor to be, general, with high esteem, your very obedient servant,
HDQRS. DEPARTMENT OF THE SOUTH,
Numbers 97. Hilton Head, Port Royal, S. C., February 19, 1863.
Two members of General Foster's staff, now sojourning within the limits of this department, having been engaged in sending North a steamer belonging to this command and necessary for the operations about to commence, such steamer being sent away clandestinely and without the knowledge, consent, or ordered of the major-general commanding, and it being found that many, if not all, the members of General