HEADQUARTERS U. S. FORCES, LEFT FLANK,
Poe's Tavern, September 6, 1863.
GENERAL: I have the honor to call your attention to the fact that the order placing me in command of the forces covering the left flank of the army, dated headquarters Department of the Cumberland, Stevenson, Ala., September 3, 1863, has been abrogated by indorsement upon Brigadier-General Wagner's letter to you of September 4, 1863, which directs General Wagner to assume command.
I respectfully represent that the ground upon which General Wagner bases his claim to superior rank(viz, that he was the ranking colonel, when we received appointments as brigadiers) does not appear to be well taken, and that in my opinion the matter of previous rank does not at all affect the question. Paragraph 5, Revised U. S. Army Regulations, prescribes that between officers of the same regiment or corps, rank is to be decided by the "order of appointment," date of commissions being the same. Among officers of "different regiments or corsp" only does the question of rank at the time of appointment pertain. The word "corps," as here used, means, I think, the staff corps, or the grand divisions of the service. Certainly it cannot be claimed that general officers of the line of the army belong to different corps or divisions of the service. In the order of appointment I stand at least twenty above General Wagner. The privilege of regulating the rank of his appointees by this "order of appointment" has always been exercised by the President, and his right to do so has never, I believe, been questioned.
I respectfully ask your attention to this matter. I have the honor to report that I shall immediately turn over my command to General Wagner in obedience to your order indorsed upon his communication. I inclose a correct transcript of the appointments of general officers of the date in question. There is no doubt about my seniority, and I have, therefore, requested General Wagner, that until these facts are made known at department headquarters, that, although I will cheerfully make my reports to him and obey his orders, to save confusion, that he defer publishing his order assuming command. This announcement of the appointments by the President of general officers of the same date has always regulated their relative rank. I am surprised that General Wood should, without fully understanding the rank of officers already determined, so emphatically express his views, when so important a command is involved.
I am, respectfully,
W. B. HAZEN,
List of general officers as arranged by the War Department.
The following brigadier-generals of volunteers to be major-generals of volunteers:
Silas Casey, May 31, 1862.
Henry W. Slocum, July 4, 1862.
John G. Parke, July 18, 1862.
Charles S. Hamilton, September 19, 1862.
Lovell H. Rousseau, October 8, 1862.
Hiram G. Berry, November 29, 1862.