War of the Rebellion: Serial 039 Page 0659 Chapter XXXVII. THE CHANCELLORSVILLE CAMPAIGN.

Search Civil War Official Records

the army, that they would seem to have a right to have a true statement of the circumstances of the case laid before the people, so that they may hope to be judged by their true merits.

It is a very hard thing for soldiers to be universally stigmatized as cowards, and apt to demoralize them more than a defeat. Without claiming for the officers and men of my command anything that is not due them, I would respectfully represent that in my humble opinion it would be just, and greatly for the benefit of the morale of the men, that he country should be made to understand the disastrous occurrence of the 2nd of May in its true character.

if the publication of my report, should inexpedient to you, I would respectfully ask for a court of inquiry, to publicly investigate the circumstances surrounding my command on the 2nd of May, and the causes of its defeat.

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


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



May 18, 1863.

Respectfully forwarded.


Major-General, Commanding.


May 18, 1863.

Respectfully forwarded. I hope soon to be able to transmit all the reports of the recent battles, and meanwhile I cannot approve of the publication of an isolated report.


Major-General, Commanding.


May 21, 1863.

GENERAL: The arrangement spoken of between yourself and the Secretary of War with regard to my transfer to another amy is not acceptable, under present circumstances. You remember that about seven weeks ago I expressed a desire to leave with my troops, for the reason that I anticipated difficulties which would be apt to impair the efficiency of the corps. The disaster which befell us on the 2nd of May has brought about a state of things which seems to justify my apprehension in a much larger measure than I had expected; nevertheless it is now impossible for me and my troops to agree to na arrangement which formerly we would have been happy to accept.

My reasons are these: I have been most outrageously slandered by the press. ridiculous as it may seem, my division has been made responsible for the defeat of the corps; my officers and men have been called cowards. If we go now, will it not have the appearance as if we were shaken off by the Army of the Potomac? Would it not to a certainty confirm the slanders circulated about me? Would it not seem as if I voluntarily accepted the responsibility for the disaster of May? To such an arrangement, under such circumstances, I can never consent.

I have asked for one of two things: Either the publication of my official report or a court of inquiry, so that true facts may come to light