General Hardee for the facts and received them from him in writing, together with the correspondence with General McCown, in which the delay was acknowledge and his reasons, unsatisfactory to me, were given.
I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
General, C. S. Army.
CHATTANOOGA, TENN., May 17, 1863.
Brig. Gen. W. W. MACKALL:
General Bragg, in his report of the battle of Murfreesborough, says:
The failure of General McCown to execute during the night an order for a slight change in the line of his division, and which had to be done the next morning, caused some delay in the general and vigorous assault by Lieutenant-General Hardee; but about 7 o'clock the rattle of musketry and roar of artillery announced the beginning of the conflict.
This does me injustice. I received an order on the night of the 30th from General Bragg to change the position of Rains' brigade. The change was made during the night. I also received an order from Lieutenant-General Hardee to change the position of McNair's brigade. General Cheatham was to point out the new position, which he did. The brigade was placed accurately upon the ground indicated by General Cheatham before I left for General Bragg's headquarters. As to the hour of attack, I have to say the attack commenced at about 6 o'clock. This fact is sustained by the reports of my subordinates.
I respectfully request the general commanding to correct the error in his report. I should be pleased to be informed of the action of the general commanding in the premise.
J. P. McCOWN,
N. B.-I send papers marked A, B, C.
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE TENNESSEE, Shelbyville, Tenn., June 5, 1863.
Major-General McCOWN, Chattanooga, Tenn.:
SIR: The general commanding directs me to acknowledge the receipt of your not of the 17th ultimo, and to say that the paragraph in his escort of the battle of Murfreesborough which you regard as injurious to yourself is fully sustained by your admission and by the certificate you inclose. The paragraph was based on that of General Hardee, which says:
Major-General McCown having failed to get McNair's brigade on the line of battle Tuesday night, as directed by me, the brigade was moved into position early the next morning.
The attack was ordered to be made at daylight (dawn), which was then 5 o'clock. When the action became distinct with artillery and volleys of musketry it was 7 o'clock, as marked by the watch of the commanding general. He had been more that two hours on the field, and felt and exhibited surprise and anxiety at the delay. The order to you admitted of no conditions, and the general commanding cannot understand you right to suspend an important movement ordered by your superior commanders because yours supposed it might be seen by the enemy or might cause an engagement. That was a question for your