War of the Rebellion: Serial 051 Page 0064 Chapter XIII. KY.,SW.VA.,TENN.,MISS.,N.ALA.,AND N.GA.

Search Civil War Official Records

SEPTEMBER 30, 1863.

Lieutenant-General POLK:

GENERAL: Your inquiries embrace points upon which we have conversed, but I will answer them in order:

1st. I was at Thedford's Ford from 11 till 3 [o'clock] on the night of the 19th. I went there after the battle to communicate with General Bragg and to ask for orders for the next day, as I had not been apprised that I was placed under your command until midnight, or after it.

2nd . I left Thedford's Ford at 3 o'clock and went with my staff to Alexander's Bridge, where I had been told couriers were posted to conduct me to your quarters. Myself and staff searched about there for such couriers, but found none. I then went up to the battlefield and notified Generals Cleburne and Breckinridge of my presence.

3rd. Lieutenant-Colonel Anderson, and possibly Lieutenant Reid, told me that they had seen you, and that you wished to see me at Alexander's Bridge that night. No staff officer of mine or yours communicated any order to me to attack at daylight.

4th. I had no orders to make such attack, which is a sufficient answer.

5th. I was present when an order was sent to Generals Cleburne and Breckinridge to begin the attack. I think the order reached them about 7.30 a. m. on the 20th instant.

6th I think you came up some half hour or later after the receipt of your order for attack. Our conversation was in reference to a note which I had sent you, stating that the line of my corps was at right angles to yours, and asking that the two lines be properly connected while rations were being distributed to my men.

7th. Breckinridge had got into position when you came up, and my line was ready, in a tactical sense, for attack; but I thought no attack ought to be made till the men had taken their breakfast, and till the whole line of battle was properly arranged from right to left.

Yours, &c.,




September 30, 1863.

In consequence of an unfortunate disagreement between myself and the commander-in-chief of this department, I have been relieved of my command, and am about to retire from the army.

Without attempting to explain the circumstances of this disagreement, or prejudicing the public mind by a premature appeal to its judgment, I must be permitted to express my unqualified conviction of the rectitude of my conduct, and that time and investigation will amply vindicate my action on the field of Chickamauga.

I cannot, however, part even temporarily with the gallant officers and soldiers of my old corps, without the deepest feeling of regret and a heartfelt expression of my gratitude for the courage, conduct, and devotion they have always manifested while under my command. Belmont, Shiloh, Perryville, Murfreesborough, and Chickamauga all attest on your part the very highest soldierly qualities, and are crowded with precious memories.

Contending with a numerous, well-appointed, and merciless enemy