War of the Rebellion: Serial 052 Page 0456 KY.,SW.VA.,TENN.,MISS.,N.ALA., AND N.GA. Chapter XLII.

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duty in losing time making the reconnaissance, I will remark that he certainly should have excluded all other matter from his latter of complaint. I maintain that no candid mind could read his letter without coming to the conclusion that he intended to make more charges than the single one of neglect of duty. I maintain that the construction I placed on General Crittenden's letter was warranted by the context of the letter itself, and by independent by concurrent facts. But accepting General Crittenden's disavowal of intention to make no injurious charges against me, I will make at once the explanation I desire to submit to the commanding general.

I can now understand myself, and I think I can explain to the comprehension of any one how General Crittenden, innocently but erroneously, came to the conclusion from my notes that I had increased the hazard of my command by changing my position, or rather the site of my encampment, the night before last. In my notes of Sunday afternoon, in using the expression, "my position is hazardous," and again in my note of 11.30 a.m. yesterday, in using the expression, "my position is extremely hazardous," I referred to my general position in the valley, in front of a large and overwhelming force of the enemy, so isolated from support that my command might be destroyed, and did not intend to make any comparison of the relative merits of the two positions or sites of encampment. When General Crittenden and myself were together at Shellmound we interchanged views, and both appeared to entertain the opinion that I would meet with no serious resistance, and as late as Sunday morning, at Whiteside's, the same views were expressed, General Crittenden remarking to me that the next he expected to hear of me would be from Chattanooga. It is true that he sent a staff officer to me just after we had separated at Whiteside's, saying he had just seen a dispatch from the commanding general to General Burnside, indicating that the enemy was probably in force in the vicinity of Chattanooga; on the other hand, the order of the commanding general directing a reconnaissance to be made yesterday with a part of my force, stated that the indications went to show that the enemy was falling back on Dalton. Hence, considering the whole matter, I was deeply impressed with the belief that the true facts in regard to the position of the enemy, especially in my immediate vicinity, were not known to General Crittenden, and I sought by the use of strong and emphatic terms, in communication of 11.30 a.m. yesterday, to give him a full understanding of my general position. I think this explanation will readily show how General Crittenden very erroneously came to the conclusion that "by my own showing," I had increased the hazard of my general position by changing the site of my camp, or properly, bivouac. The word "position" was used by me (perhaps thoughtlessly, but I think the connection shows what meaning should be given to it in each case) with two different meanings in the same communication, and perhaps I must take the consequence.

General Crittenden remarks in his indorsement that I seem to forget that the commanding general, as well as himself, are alike interested in the honor and security of my troops. I maintain that there is not the slightest expression in my communication to warrant General Crittenden in making this statement. There is no intimation in my communication that either the commanding general or General Crittenden is wanting in interest in the honor or safety of my troops, and hence there was neither necessity for nor appropri-