his return. If I may except the Prince de Joinville, he is the best representative of the European service it has been my fortune to become acquainted with. He commanded a division on my last campaign, and I speak from a full knowledge of his admirable mode of governing men and his splendid conduct on the battle-field. No mistake can be made in making such men major-generals, nor in unmaking many that we have. Osterhaus tells me that the effect of Frank Blair's vulgar attack on yourself was the transfer of his hitherto most devoted friends to you. Surprising as it appeared at the time, it was impossible for me to divest my mind of the admonitions you had given me, with the greatest kindness, and when to this was added, in your connection, the name of some injured "female" woman, I felt inclined to inclose some elegant extracts from certain letters in my possession, with a few additions of my own, to you. The favorable opportunity, however, appears to have passed. I inquired of Butterfield if he knew anything of the woman case, and, as he did not I concluded that any remarks I might have to make would be unnecessary. Our Savior was calumniated and reviled while on earth, and, if people have grown wiser since, I doubt if they are better. With regard to myself, I had a good character until I fell in command of the Army of the Potomac, and, so far as I know, have had since,and as I am not conscious of any change in myself, I conclude that I was mistaken for the office, and that it was the latter that was committing all these offenses before high Heaven. In your case, I am certain the cause will not be found within yourself. This will not reach you until after New Year's; nevertheless I shall wish you its richest gifts. I desire that you will make my kindest regards to Mrs. Sprague. I received the polite invitation to be present at her wedding,and regretted more than I can express the necessity for my absence. My friends write me that her dress was exquisitely tasteful, and the bride surpassed herself. I hope that she is as happy and well as I wish her to be. Butterfield is in New York. I advised him not to go to Washington lest he should be arrested by order of the General-in-Chief. That courtesy, however, is reserved for particular friends.
Report of Lieutenant Henry C. Wharton, U. S. Corps of Engineers.
Nashville, Tennessee, January 17, 1864.
GENERAL: In compliance with instructions received from you, I have the honor to submit the following brief report of the building of the trestle bridge across the West Chickamauga, in the advance of your troops upon Ringgold, Ga.:
The bridge was built by the First, Second, and Third Battalions, Pioneer Brigade, under the command of Colonel Buell, assisted by a small detail of men from the Fifteenth Missouri Infantry, not numbering more than 50 men, which, together with the Pioneers, gave me a working party of about 450 men.