Immediately on receiving your pamphlet, I addressed to a note to General Burnside, calling his attention to what you had stated in regard to his having formally and earnestly requested my removal, and, as he has not denied its correctness, I presume he admit it.
There is one singular statement in your letter, in regard to the embodying of General Burnside's recommendation for our removal in his letter of resignation, and reading it to the President in the presence of the Secretary and myself. There is not a word of truth in this, so far as I am concerned. The only letter of resignation of General Burnside which I ever saw or heard of, made no allusion whatever to either of us.
The reason of my alluding to Order No. 8 was, that you say the "President declined to decide without consulting some of his adviser." The public would presume, perhaps, that I was one of these advisers. I merely wished to undeceive you on that point. The facts are these: General Burnside had had an interview with the President in the night or very early in the morning. I was sent for while at breakfast. When I arrived at the President's room, he informed the Secretary and myself that General Burnside had proposed the dismissal and relieving of several high officers, and, if his order was not approved,he wished to resign. The President announced his decision to relieve General Burnside and put General Hooker in command. He asked no opinion or advice either from the Secretary or myself, and none whatever was offered by either of us. General Burnside afterward came in, and the matter of accepting his resignation was discussed. I strongly urged him to withdraw it, which he finally consented to do.
The removal of General Burnside and appointment of General Hooker was the sole act of the President. My advice was not asked at all in the matter, and I gave no opinion whatever.
I have never doubted the honesty and integrity of purpose of General Burnside, but in his various statements he has certainly committed some most singular eros, and in none more so than in regard to the pontoons, upon which the public press got up such a furor against me. I had the means at the time of disproving most of his statements, but declined to use them, preferring, as in the case of the battle of Fredericksburg, to remain silent. By publicly denying one false charge, it would be inferred that those undenied were true. Moreover, when holding a command, I never enter into newspaper discussions. Nevertheless, I think it due to history that officers should among themselves seek to reconcile and explain conflicting statements. It was simply with his object in view that I wrote to yourself and General Burnside, and I thank you for answering me so promptly and kindly. I only regret that General Burnside has not done the same.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
H. W. HALLECK.
YORK, PA., June 1, 1863.
Major General H. W. HALLECK,
General-in-Chief, U. S. Army:
GENERAL: I have received your letter of the 29th ultimo. At the is of taking up too much of your time, I will answer it.
The letter of resignation of Burnside, in which he asked for the removal of the Secretary and yourself, he told me was written on or about January 1,st. I presume that no such letter was either read or written.
64 R R-VOL XXI