ment of Davis I do not know, but I judge from his expressions on a kindred subject that he must agree with the others.
Of course this is a matter which I cannot directly inquire into, and cannot be so fully informed about as if it were an ordinary affair. The feeling in the case of McCook is deepened by the recollection of his faults at Perryville and Murfreesborough, and of the great waste of life which they caused; while toward Crittenden it is relieved somewhat by consideration for his excellent heart, general good sense, and charming social qualities. Against these, however, is balanced the fact, which I can testify to from my own observation, that he is constantly wanting in attention to the duties of his command, never rides his lines, or exercises any special care for the well-being and safety of his troops, and, in fact, discharges no other function than that of a medium for the transmission of orders.
The feeling of the officers I have mentioned above does not seem in the least to partake of a mutinous or disorderly character; it is rather conscientious unwillingness to risk their men and the country's cause in hands proved to be so uncertain and unsafe. No formal representation of this unwillingness has been made to Rosecrans, but he has been made aware of the state of things by private conversations with several of the parties. The defects of his character complicate the difficulty. He abounds in friendliness and approbativeness, and is greatly lacking in firmness and steadiness of will. He is a temporizing man, dreads so heavy an alternative as is now presented, and hates to break with McCook and Crittenden. Besides, there is a more serious obstacle to his acting decisively in the fact that if Crittenden and McCook fled to Chattanooga, with the sound of artillery in their ears, from that glorious field where Thomas and Granger were saving their army and their country's honor, he fled also; and although it may be said in his excuse to go to his base of operations, while the corps commanders ought to remain with their troops, still he feels that that excuse cannot entirely clear him either in his own eyes or in those of the army. In fact, it is perfectly plain that while the subordinate commanders will not resign if he is retained in the chief command, as I believe they certainly will if McCook and Crittenden are not relieved, their respect for him as a general has received an irreparable blow. And that not from his abandonment of the army alone but from his faulty management on the field, especially in leaving a gap of a whole brigade distance between the divisions of Wood and Davis, and not providing for it till after the battle had become furious, when he attempted to fill it with Van Cleve's forces as I have explained in former reports. But for this gap General Davis thinks the enemy could not have broken his lines and routed the right wing. Thus you will see that here in the face of the enemy this army is in a dangerous condition. The officers who have taken this grave resolution are among the bravest and most discreet in our service. In my judgment the removal of Crittenden and McCook is imperatively required, not merely as a matter of discipline, but to preserve the efficacy, not to say the organization, of this army.
If it be decided to change the chief commander also, I would take the liberty of suggesting that some Western general of high rank and great prestige, like Grant, for instance, would be preferable as his successor to any one who has hitherto commanded in East alone.
I should add that Rosecrans himself intends to punish Negley for