War of the Rebellion: Serial 043 Page 0123 Chapter XXXIX. THE GETTYSBURG CAMPAIGN.

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MARCH 10, 1864.

Colonel J. A. HARDIE,

Assistant Adjutant-General:

I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 9th instant, inquiring, on the part of the honorable Secretary of

War, whether I had written, as is asserted in the Washington Chronicle, a letter to the Honorable Reverdy Johnson on military operations, and, if so, by what authority. In reply, I beg to state that on my return from my recent visit to Washington, I found a note from the Honorable Reverdy Johnson, accompanied by a copy of the Congressional Globe, to which Mr. Johnson invited my attention as containing a defense which he {a perfect stranger to me

had made in reply to certain allegations in a speech of the Honorable Mr. Wilkinson, of Minnesota, touching my operations at the battle of Gettysburg, and inquiring of me whether he was not right in denying these allegations. In reply to this note, after thanking Mr. Johnson for his defense, I explained to him how the allegations had arisen and the plausible foundation for them. This letter was a private one, not in the slightest degree intended for publication or circulation, and I was not aware that I required any authority before writing it, particularly as it touched upon operations that occurred nearly nine months since, the official reports of which have for some time been made public. It is true, when in Washington I mentioned to the honorable Secretary my disposition to reply to Mr. Wilkinson, that he suggested my sending any communication I might write through the Department; but I understood this to be a friendly suggestion, inasmuch as had I written such a letter, it would have been designed for the public, and its passing through the Department would have given it the form of an official document. I did not understand the honorable Secretary's suggestion to imply I should be violating any orders, or etiquette, if I had not so sent this letter through the Department; much less did I consider his remark as intended to prohibit private correspondence on my part to friends, explaining the false and slanderous charges with which the press of the whole country has been filled for the last week. I regret I did not retain a copy of Mr. Johnson's note and my reply; the latter I will endeavor to obtain, and transmit to the honorable Secretary, and I trust this explanation will be by him deemed satisfactory.

Very respectfully, &c.,

GEO. G. MEADE,

Major-General, Commanding.

CIRCULAR. *] HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC,

March 10, 1864.

SIR: Your attention is respectfully invited to the articles which have recently appeared in the newspapers, charging the commanding general with favoring a retreat of the army from Gettysburg on the 2nd July last. These articles are supposed to be based upon the transactions of a council, or meeting of corps commanders, held on the evening of the

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*Sent to Generals Gibbon, Newton, Sedgwick, Slocum, Sykes, and A. S. Williams.

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