division had been called away, I told an aide to write General Wood and order to close up on Reynolds and support him, who wrote as follows:
HEADQUARTERS, September 20-10.45 a.m.
The general commanding directs that you close up on Reynolds as fast possible and support him.
FRANK S. BOND,
Major, and Aide-de-Camp.
Now, with this order in his hand ---
First. When General Wood found there was no interval to close, because Brannan's troops had not left, his plain duty as a division commander was to have reported that fact to the general commanding, who was not more than 600 yards from him, and asked further orders. His failure to do so was a grave mistake, showing want of military discretion.
Second. When about to move, notwithstanding this, his duty, on being informed, as he was by one of his brigade commanders, that his skirmishers were engaged and the enemy in line of battle opposite his position, General Wood was renewedly bound to have reported these facts and taken orders before leaving his position at such a critical time. But, instead of doing so, he precipitately withdrew his troops from the line and the enemy in, in the face of an order the wording of which shows that no such operation as the opening but, on the contrary, the closing of a gap was intended by it.
Third. This conduct of General Wood, treated in the report with all the reserve consistent with the truth of history, contrasts most unfavorably with that of General Brannan, commanding the division next on his left, who, a little earlier in the day, when he received an order to leave his position and support the left, finding his skirmishers engaged, reported the fact to General Thomas, desiring to know if, under such circumstances, he should execute the order, he was told, "No; stay where you are."
Fourth. It also contrasts with General Wood's own conduct and correspondence only a few days previously, when he protested against a reprimand of his corps commander for not occupying a position at Wauhatchie, lecturing his senior on the impropriety of what he termed "blind obedience to orders," and in upward of fifty pages of manuscript trying to prove his conduct consistent with that sound discretion which a division commander ought to exercise in removing his troops from the danger threatened by the too liberal execution of orders. The material difference of circumstances in the two cases, as appears from his own writings, being that the discretion he exercises at Wauhatchie and the "blind obedience" he pleads at Chickamauga both have the effect of getting his troops out of danger.
As the best of generals are liable to mistakes, I should have been content to leave those of General Wood to the simple historical statement of them, presuming he regretted them far more deeply than even myself; and so feeling I called attention to his military virtues, vigilance, discipline, providence of his commissariat, and