War of the Rebellion: Serial 039 Page 0658 N. VA., W. VA., MD., AND PA. Chapter XXXVII.

Search Civil War Official Records

United States Ford, together with the rest of the army. On the evening of the same day, I reached my old encampment, near Stafford Court-House.

The losses suffered by my division in the action of May 2 were very sever in proportion to my whole effective force. I had 15 officer killed, 23 wounded, and 15 missing, and 102 men killed, 365 wounded, and 441 missing; total, 953.* Of those reported as missing, a good many have already been found wounded in the hospitals, and it is probable that a large proportion of them were left killed or wounded on the battle-field. My whole loss amounted to about 23 per cent.

In closing this report, I beg leave to make one additional remark. The Eleventh Corps, and, by error or malice, especially the Third Division, has been held up to the whole country as a band of cowards. My division has been made responsible for the defeat of the Eleventh Corps, and the Eleventh Corps for the failure of the campaign. Preposterous as this is, yet we have been overwhelmed by the army and the press with abuse and insult beyond measure. We have borne as much as human nature can endure. I am far from saying that on May 2 everybody did his duty to the best of his power. but one think I will say, because I know it: these men are no cowards. I have seen most of them fight before this, and they fought as bravely as any. I am also far from saying that it would have been quite impossible to do better in the position the corps occupied on May 2; but I have seen with my own eyes troops who now affect to look down upon the Eleventh Corps with sovereign contempt behave much worse under circumstances far less trying.

Being charged with such an enormous responsibility as the failure of a campaign involves, it would seem to me that every commander in this corps has a right to a fair investigation of his conduct and of the circumstances surrounding him and his command on that occasion. I would, therefore, most respectfully and most urgently ask for permission to publish this report. Every statement contained therein is strictly truthful, to the best of my information. If I have erred in any particular, my errors can easily be corrected. But if what I say is true. i deem it due to myself and those who serve under me that the country should know it.

I am, general, most respectfully, your obedient servant,


Major-General, Commanding Third Division, Eleventh Army Corps.

Major General O. O. HOWARD,

Commanding Eleventh Army Corps.


May 18, 1863.

Honorable E. M. STANTON, Secretary of War:

SIR: I would respectfully ask for permission to publish my report on the part taken by my division in the action of the 2nd of May. My reasons for making this request are the following:

The conduct of the Eleventh Corps, and especially of my division, has been so outrageously and so persistently misrepresented by the press throughout the country, and officers, as well as men, have had and still have to suffer so much abuse and insult at the hands of the rest of


*But see revised statement, p. 183.