War of the Rebellion: Serial 029 Page 0701 Chapter XXXII. THE STONE'S RIVER CAMPAIGN.

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my two division commanders, especially as we all believe the conflict will be renewed in the morning. To insure its safe conduct, I send this by a staff officer.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

L. POLK,

Lieutenant-General, Commanding.

[Inclosure Numbers 4.]

TULLAHOMA, TENN., January 30, 1863.

General BRAXTON BRAGG,

Commanding Army of Tennessee:

GENERAL: Your circular of the 11th instant was received by met at Asheville, N. C., on the 17th instant. I dispatched you immediately, saying I would leave for your headquarters in two days thereafter, and would furnish you the reply you desired on my arrival. There seemed to be two points of inquiry embraced in your note: First, whether the corps and division commanders to whom it is addressed were willing to give you a statement in writing of the opinions and counsel which they gave you verbally as to the retreat from Murfreesborough; second, whether you had lost the confidence of your general officers as a military commander. From the structure of your note the first of the inquiries appears to be its leading object; the second, though not so clearly and separately stated, nevertheless is, to my mind, plainly indicated. Upon inquiry, I find this indication seems not to have been so clear to the mind of General Cheatham and such other of my subordinate officers as responded when they penned their replies, and since in your note you appeal to our official relations, and to our candor for a frank expression of our opinion, I feel, to avoid being placed in a false position, that it is due to my subordinate officers and to myself, as well as to you, to ask whether the constructions I put upon your note is that you design.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

L. POLK,

Lieutenant-General, Commanding.

[Inclosure Numbers 5.]

TULLAHOMA, TENN., January 30, 1863.

Lieutenant-General POLK, &c.:

GENERAL: I hasten to reply to your note of this morning, so as to place you beyond all doubt in regard to the construction of mine of the 11th instant. To my mind that circular contained but one point of inquiry, and it certainly was intended to contain but one, and that was to ask of my corps and division commanders to commit to writing what had transpired between us in regard to the retreat from Murfreesborough. I believed it had been grossly and intentionally misrepresented (not by any one of them) for my injury. It was never intended by me that this should go farther than the parties to whom it was addressed, and its only object was to relieve my mind of all doubt, while I secured in a form to be preserved the means of defense in the future when discussion might be proper. The paragraph relating to my supersedure was only an expression of the feeling with which I should receive your replies should they prove I had been misled in my construction of your opinion and advice.

I am, general, very respectfully, &c.,

BRAXTON BRAGG,

General, Commanding.