War of the Rebellion: Serial 052 Page 0415 Chapter XLII. CORRESPONDENCE,ETC.-UNION.

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emanate from the general commanding the army, I take it to be unmilitary to term such a "blind obedience to orders" and I think that he has neglected his duty in delaying a reconnaissance the order for which he acknowledges to have received at 7.45 this a.m. His falling back on the Trenton road is on his own military judgment, although by his own showing he appears to have greatly endangered his command, at least far more so than he would have by falling back on the Whiteside road, if the road from Shellmound to Whiteside's is any criterion. One of General Wood's staff was in my camp this morning early. He stated to some of my staff that the general had moved back some 4 miles, but the inclosed letter, dated 11.30 a.m., is the first information that I have received of his having done so. In his report yesterday, dater 2 p.m., at the junction of any skirmishing, but in his dispatch of 4 p.m., sent by a different rout and repeating nearly everything in his dispatch of 2 p.m., he states, "I skirmished with the enemy for several miles to-day," but mentions no casualty.

General Palmer is here and of course ready to move at any moment, but I shall not move him or his command unless I receive orders from you, or become more satisfied than now of General Wood's danger. This morning I dispatched Colonel Starling and Major Mendenhall, with an escort of 50 men, to explore the Trenton Valley road, and they have not yet returned.

I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

T. L. CRITTENDEN,

Major-General, Commanding.

I send copy of this to General Wood.

[Indorsement.] HEADQUARTERS TWENTY-FIRST ARMY CORPS, September 7, 1863.

Respectfully forwarded, as the matter is deemed of too great importance to delay for copy of same.

Return this, and also the two letters of General Wood forwarded last night.

T. L. CRITTENDEN,

Major-General, Commanding.

HEADQUARTERS TWENTY-FIRST ARMY CORPS, September 7, 1863-8 p.m.

Brigadier General J. A. GARFIELD,

Chief of Staff, Trenton;

SIR: I send with this copy of letter from General Wood, dated 11.30 a.m., this day, and of one dated 6.30 p.m., latter reporting Colonel Harker returning from his reconnaissance; also copy of letter from Lieutenant Reber at Whiteside's, stating that there was no telegraph operator there, all having left with General Wood. I have written to General Wood to return any operators that he may have with him at once on Whiteside's, to connect the telegraph wire with the field signal line to be run down this valley.

I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

T. L. CRITTENDEN,

Major-General, Commanding.