War of the Rebellion: Serial 052 Page 0423 Chapter XLII. CORRESPONDENCE,ETC.-UNION.

Search Civil War Official Records

plaint to the commanding general indicates, to say the least, a disposition to cavil at small short-comings.

The two concluding paragraphs of General Crittenden's communication I would gladly pass unnoticed, but duty to myself will not permit me to do so. In all my official correspondence I studiously try to exclude everything which might in the remotest degree involve personal disparagement and injurious reflections. Official papers, if the introduction can be avoided, are no fit place for such matter, but the evident attempt of General Crittenden in his two closing paragraphs to disparage my military judgment, and perhaps the attempt also to covertly insinuate a foul, dark calumny (though I would fain hope General Crittenden did not deliberately intend to give to his words the interpretation of which they are capable), make it proper that I should notice these paragraphs.

Personally, I know myself to be so superior to injury from such attempts that I will not permit myself to be disturbed by them. If intended to injure, they are shafts which fall harmlessly at my feet. But as General Crittenden intimates, inferentially at least, in these two paragraphs, whose judgments and suggestions, however matured by information of and observation of the facts and circumstances which should settle the question, he will discard, and whose judgments and suggestions, however immature and crude they may be (the authors of them having had only the very slightest opportunity of gaining any information of the questions they are to decide), and as I have the honor to command a division of brave men, whose lives, fates, and fortunes are liable to be more or less influenced by General Crittenden's military judgments, I have the right to examine the groundwork of such judgments.

General Crittenden says he will not moves General Palmer's command (as suggested and advised by me) unless he is ordered by the commanding general, or becomes batter satisfied of General Wood's danger, and then follows a statement that he has sent Colonel Starling and Major Mendenhall, with an escort, to explore the Trenton road. The evident connection of these two sentences is such that it is plain General Crittenden was to become more satisfied of my danger through the agency of his two staff officers. A strange, a passing strange determination on the part of General Crittenden! I had been in this valley more than twenty-four hours; I had been keenly examining the topographical features with reference to either offense or defense; I had been actively engaged in obtaining information of the position and force of the enemy and his designs. On the information touching all these points, at 11.30 a.m. to-day (having previously advised and suggested the same course), I made a more full communication, urging the moving up of re-enforcements to a supporting distance, setting forth my reasons for my urgency, but the suggestions and the information on which they are based are not deemed worthy of being acted on. General Crittenden sends two of his staff officers (neither of whom has one-tenth of my military experience, nor a tenth part of my military education) to my camp, who spend a half an hour at my bivouac, who ride with me to the position of one of my batteries (occupying about ten minutes in this visit), and then return quickly to General Crittenden 's headquarters, and so soon as a courier could well return to me, I am informed that the disposition I had been pressing for more than twenty-four hours will be made.