War of the Rebellion: Serial 029 Page 0699 Chapter XXXII. THE STONE'S RIVER CAMPAIGN.

Search Civil War Official Records

to do this urgently. The state of this army demands immediate attention, and its position before the enemy, as well as the mind of its troops and commanders, could find relief in no way so readily as by the appointment of General Joseph E. Johnston.

I send this by mail, and will send copies by my aide-de-camp, Lieutenant Richmond, whom I send to Richmond on business with the department, and by whom I also send my report of the battle of Shiloh. In it I have taken care that the presence of our valued friend on that field shall not be ignored.

I remain, faithfully, your friend,

L. POLK,

Lieutenant-General, Commanding.

[Inclosure Numbers 1.]

HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF TENNESSEE, Tullahoma, Tenn., January 11, 1863.

Lieutenant-General POLK,

Commanding Polk's Corps, Asheville, N. C.:

GENERAL: Finding myself assailed in private and public by the press, in private circles by officers and citizens, for the movement from Murfreesborough, which was resisted by me for some time after advised by my corps and division commanders, and only adopted after hearing of the enemy's re-enforcements by large numbers from Kentucky, it becomes necessary for me to save my fair name, if I cannot stop the deluge of abuse, which will destroy my usefulness and demoralize this army.

It has come to my knowledge that many of these accusations and insinuations are from staff officers of my generals, who persistently assert that the movement was made against the opinion and advice of their chiefs, and while the enemy was in full retreat. False or true, the soldiers have no means of judging me rightly or getting the facts, and the effect on them will be the same-a loss of confidence, and a consequent demoralization of the whole army. It is only through my generals that I can establish the facts as they exist. Unanimous as you were in council in verbally advising a retrograde movement, I cannot doubt that you will cheerfully attest the same in writing. I desire that you will consult your subordinate commanders and be candid with me, as I have always endeavored to prove myself with you. If I have misunderstood your advice, and acted against your opinions, let me know it, in justice to yourself. If, on the contrary, I am the victim of unjust accusations, say so, and unite with me in staying the malignant slanders being propagated by men who have felt the sting of discipline.

General [E. K.] Smith has been called to Richmond, it is supposed, with a view to supersede me. I shall retire without a regret if I find I have lost the good opinion of my generals, upon whom I have ever relied as upon a foundation of rock.

Your early attention is most desirable, and is urgently solicited.

Most respectfully, your obedient servant,*

BRAXTON BRAGG,

General, C. S. Army.

P. S.-I inclose copies f a joint note, received about 2 a. m., from Major-Generals Cheatham and Withers, on the night before we retired from Murfreesborough [Numbers 2.], with Lieutenant-General Polk's indorsement [Numbers 3], and my own verbal reply to Lieutenant [W. B.] Richmond, General Polk's aide-de-camp.

---------------

*Similar letters to Breckinridge, Cleburne, Cheatham, and Hardee. For their replies, see "Correspondence, etc.," Part II.

---------------