I could not have made such statement, as I did not know that any such meeting had taken place until I saw it in General Rosecrans' report, and also a mention of it in his letter of the 4th instant. I was not present at a meeting of corps commanders, at General Rosecrans' headquarters, on the night of the 30th of December, 1862. I was not, by written or verbal order, summoned there to meet corps commanders. No corps commander heard any conversation between General Rosecrans, on the night of the 30th, and myself, as his official report implies.
I visited General Rosecrans' headquarters on the night of the 30th, through a sense of duty to report what I had done; also the condition of my line, and all the information I had of the enemy.
I went to General Rosecrans' headquarters in company with Brigadier General D. S. Stanley, chief of cavalry, and Captain B. D. Williams, my aide-de-camp. The persons I met at General Rosecrans' headquarters were himself, Aide-de-Camp Thompson, and Father Tracy.
General Stanley was present during most of the conversation I had with General Rosecrans, and Captain Williams was present during it all. I did not understand General Rosecrans to say that I had the option of changing my line of battle, nor have I any recollection of "three hours" being mentioned in our conversation. General Rosecrans did ask me if I thought I could hold my line. I replied "I think I can," meaning, of course, if I were assailed by the enemy that I had fought during the day, but most certainly not meaning against the combined rebel army under General Bragg.
The details of the plan of battle never were explained to me, nor did I know what they were to be until I saw the published report of General Rosecrans in the Cincinnati Commercial of the 28th of February. I did receive a written order from the lamented and gallant Garesche, chief of staff, written by himself, which explained what I had to do on the 31st. This order I have filed away at my home in Ohio, a copy of which will be found in my official report of the battle. Neither General George H. Thomas nor General T. L. Crittenden makes mention in his official reports of this meeting of corps commanders on the night of the 30th of December, 1862. I hope a similar letter to the one received by myself has been addressed to each of them.
Hoping that this communication may prove satisfactory, I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
A. McD. McCOOK,
Major-General, Commanding Twentieth Army Corps.
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE CUMBERLAND, Murfreesborough, March 11, 1863.
Major General GEORGE H. THOMAS,
Commanding Fourteenth Army Corps:
GENERAL: Please report in writing if not [sic] you received verbal explanations of the plan of battle for Wednesday, December 31, ultimo, so far as related to what each corps was to do, and about what hour, and from whom and what was the general purport of those instructions, and were they given at my headquarters.
W. S. ROSECRANS,
(Same to Crittenden and Stanley.)