give such explanation as will enable two soldiers, who have staked their all in a common cause, to part in kindness rather than in anger. Candor compels me to state that for more than a year I have been under the belief that you entertained very unkind feelings toward me It has been in our official rather than personal intercourse that evidence of those feelings was believed to have been discovered. You will remember that, in the spring of 1863, the disorganized and scattered condition of General Marshall's command greatly exposed your western frontier. The enemy had a considerable cavalry force at Louisa and at the mouth of the Sandy, which were then threatening the salt-works. You had no force then at or near Saltville, and deemed it important to send some troops to that frontier. I was then in Monroe, in command of the finest brigade in your department. The officers and men had served under me in the Kanawha campaign, and were attached to me and I to them. I asked to be sent to Saltville, and there seemed to be a fitness and propriety in sending me there, because of my intimate acquaintance with the people and country. I had letters from a number of gentlemen from the border counties of Kentucky, assuring me that, if I were placed near the Kentucky line, a large number of recruits would join me from that State and from the border counties of Virginia. These letters were shown to you, and you determined to send me to Saltville. You said, however, that the condition of the transportation and the present exigencies were such as not to allow the brigade to accompany me then, but it should be sent in convenient time. I consented to go without my brigade, feeling assured that it would soon follow, and that the new troops raised would be added to my old command. On April 11, 1863, Special Orders, Numbers 95, came from your headquarters, which were as follows;
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF WESTERN VIRGINIA,
Dublin Depot, April 11, 1863.
Brigadier General John S. Williams is relieved temporarily from the command of the Second Brigade, and will proceed to Saltville, and take command of the troops in that vicinity, including [W. W.] Baldwin's squadron and Major [J. M.] French's battalion.
By command of Major General Samuel Jones:
CHAS. S. STRINGFELLOW,
In obedience to this order, I went at once to Saltville, and engaged vigorously in the work of raising new troops from Kentucky and the border counties of West Virginia. Now, this order expressly recites that I was only temporarily relieved from my command. I had then no apprehension that the separation was to become permanent, as it did.
A few days after this, to wit, on April 20, 1863, General Orders, No. 20, came from your headquarters, reorganizing the troops of the command, and assigning my command to Brigadier-General Echols, even changing the name of my old brigade from Second to First Brigade. In this arrangement, you gave two colonels each a brigade, while you gave me one on paper merely, and which had no real existence. This new imaginary brigade which you gave me consisted of the Sixty-third Virginia, the worst regiment in your whole command, then almost disorganized, more than half of the men absent, the officers ignorant of their duties, and with no ideas of discipline. This regiment really constituted my brigade. It is true you assigned