more prisoners, than did the division which gets the entire credit in General Meade's report. The commendation given to Geary's division was justly merited, but the same praise might safely have been extended so as to have embraced the conduct of the whole corps, without doing injustice or giving offense to any portion of it. The entire omission of the First Division is so marked, and the report of the contest on Friday morning so meager, and so at variance with official statements of the superior officers of the corps, that I am at a loss to conceive from what source General Meade derived his information. Not, I know, from my report as temporary commander of the corps, and not, I think, from yours as commander of the troops of the right wing. 4. The fourth item of omissions stated at the commencement of this communication is sufficiently shown in the comments already made. General Meade either has not seen my report, or he has intentionally repudiated all its material statements as to the operations of the Twelfth Corps at Gettysburg. No commanding general can verify by personal knowledge all the occurrences in his own command in a great battle; but so confident am I of the truth of every material statement of my report in this instance, that I could confidently submit its correctness to a decision on proofs in any respectable court of justice. There is another omission which, in connection with those I have named, has a significant bearing. General Meade carefully names all general officers temporarily in command of corps. Major-General Shurz, in command of Eleventh Corps for six hour, from 10. 30 a. m. of July 1 (when General Howard assumed command of the field) to 4 p. m. of same day (when General Howard was relieved by the arrival of General Hancock), is properly reported as such. So are Major-General Birney, Third Corps, and Brigadier-General Gibbon, Second Corps (Major-General Hancock commanding left center), named as temporarily commanding corps on different days. I was in command of the Twelfth Corps part of July 1 and all of July 2 and 3, and on the evening of the 2nd (Thursday) attended a council of corps commanders on a summons conveyed to me by a staff officer of General Meade. I may be pardoned, therefore, for expressing some surprise that my name alone of all those who temporarily commanded corps in this great battle is suppressed in General Meade's report. I know General Meade to be a high-toned gentleman, and I believe him to be a commander of superior merit and of honest judgment, and I confess to have read that part of his official report relating to the Twelfth Corps with a mixed feeling of astonishment and regret. I submit these comments to you as the commander of the Twelfth Corps, not in the expectation that any adequate remedy can now be applied after the official report of the commanding general has become an historical record, but because I deem a statement of the facts and grievances an act of justice to the corps with which I have been long connected (and which I commanded on the occasion referred to), and especially to the gallant division which I have had the honor to command for nearly two years.
I have the honor to be, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
A. S. WILLIAMS,
Brigadier General of Vols., Comdg. First Div., Twelfth Army Corps.