HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE SOUTH,
Hilton Head, Port Royal, S. C., February 24, 1863.
May. General H. W. HALLECK,
General-in-Chief U. S. Army, Washing, D. C.:
GENERAL: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letters of the 15th and 16th instant, and must confess that I was much surprised at their contents. But I reserve any remarks I have to make on them for a more convenient occasion. I must disclaim, however, any intention of interfering with the President's organization of the Eighteenth Army Corps. Such a thing never entered my mind. Nearly a year since, long before General Foster's army corps was even thought of, I was promised such re-enforcements as would enable me to act efficiently in this department. When these long-delayed re-enforcements at length arrived, therefore, I could not for a moment imagine that they were not to constitute a part of the Tenth Army Corps, agreeably to the inclosed order, which, you see, directs that all troops severing in the Department of the South should constitute the Tenth Army Corps.* The mere fact that these re-enforcement passed thought General Foster's command, tarrying but a very few days, cannot without any special assigned of the President consistute them a part of the Eighteenth Army Corps any more than their being in this department makes them thought of calling these re-enforcements detachmnets from the various army corps from which they came in Virginia as to term them a detachment of the Eighteenth Army Corps. This, however, is a matter of no consequence, as I certainly never expect them to retunt to North Carolina, as their services will been indispensable here, and, in addition, I must most earnestly beg you to send at once to this department 20,000 addition troops, to be used in co-operation with the Navy against Savannah. We confidently except to have Charleston ion ten or twelve days, and the country cannot afford to lose the service of the iron-clads for a single hour. I inclose herewith a verified copy of General Foster's secret instructions to General Naglee, from the postscript to which you will perceive that he General Naglee to embark his command, move in conjunction with the Navy, "and operate as agreed upon verbally," without any reference whatever to me.+ Could there be anything more disrespectful or insubordinate, an where can you find a soldier who would not have arrested General Foster under like circumstances?
Your remarks with regard to "those who have fostered animosities and jealousies" I do not take to myself. I hope they were n ot intended for another quarter. You should know that I am not troubled in this way. When I had but a handful of men in Kansas I gave you what little assistance was in my power to secure victory at Fort Donelson, and at the same time sent, on my own responsibility, Slough's regiment of Colorado Volunteers to Colonel Canby, which saved New Mexico at the Canon Glorieta.
The last time I had the pleasure of seeing you at your own house I believed General Foster to be a good soldier, and it struck me that his local knowledge might be of great service in the operations against Charleston. Sincerely wishing that no expectation on my part to command in this department should interfere with the public weal, I then candidly asked you to send Foster to command in this department and to give me another command elsewhere. Your reply was, "Foster
* See General Orders, Numbers 123, p. 380.
+ See p. 407.