War of the Rebellion: Serial 031 Page 0945 Chapter XXXIII. CORRESPONDENCE, ETC. - UNION.

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*In conversation with you on New Year's morning. I was led to express some opinions which I afterward felt it my duty to place on paper, and to express them verbally to the gentlemen of whom we were speaking which I did in your presence after handing you the letter. You were not disposed then, as I saw, to retain the letter, and I took it back, but I now return it to your for record, if you wish it.*

I beg leave to say that my resignation is not sent in in any spirit of insubordination, but, as I before said, simply to relieve you from any embarrassment in changing commanders, where lack of confidence may have rendered it necessary.

The bearer of this will bring me any answer, or I should be glad to hear from you by telegraph in cipher.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

A. E. BURNSIDE,

Major-General, Commanding Army of the Potomac.

HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC,

January 5, 1863

Major General H. W. HALLECK,

General-in-Chief, Washington, D. C.:

GENERAL: I have decided to move the army across the river again, and have accordingly given the directions to the engineers and artillery to make the necessary preparations to effect the crossing.

Since I last, saw you it has become more apparent that the movement must be made almost entirely upon my own responsibility, so far as this army is concerned; and I do not ask you to assume any responsibility in reference to the mode or place of crossing, but it seems to me that, in making so hazardous a movement, I should receive some general directions from you as to the advisability of crossing at some point, as you are necessarily well informed of the effect at this time upon other parts of the army of a success or a repulse. You will readily see that the responsibility of crossing without the knowledge of this effect, and against the opinion of nearly all the general officers, involves a greater responsibility than any officer situated as I am ought to incur.

In view of the President's telegram to me the other day, and with its influence still upon me, I have written to him on this subject, and inclosed to him my resignation, directed to the Adjutant-General, to be accepted in case it is not deemed advisable for me to cross the river.

I send this resignation because I have no other plan of campaign for this winter, and I am not disposed to go into winter quarters. It may be well to add that recent information goes, to show that the enemy's force has not been diminished in our front to any great extent.

The bearer of this will bring me any answer, or I shall be glad to hear from you in cipher.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

A. E. BURNSIDE,

Major-General, Commanding Army of the Potomac.

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*The paragraph between asterisks is in General Burnside's copy of this letter, but is not in that received by the President. Mr. Lincoln noted upon his copy that the letter had been answered by his indorsement upon General Halleck's letter of January 7. See p. 954.

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60 R R-VOL XXI