I deemed it best to refer the matter again to the President for his written decision, which I did on the 22nd ultimo, and sent him copies of your letters. It appears my recollection was not at fault, and that when I submitted the question to him here, he fully sustained my decision against your right to continue the exercise of authority as the commander of the Department of East Tennessee.
A copy of his letter is, by his desire, submitted for your information.
Your communication of the [26th] ultimo is still more objectionable, and I trust upon a reconsideration and calm reflection you will be convinced of its impropriety. I, therefore, return it, that you may avail yourself of that opportunity.
I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
[Sub-inclosure Numbers 7.]
HEADQUARTERS BUCKNER'S DIVISION, Near Chattanooga, November 3, 1863.
General BRAXTON BRAGG,
Comdg. Army and Dept. of Tennessee, Missionary Ridge:
GENERAL: Your note of the 1st instant, covering the copy of a letter from the President to you, and returning for my reconsideration my correspondence with your headquarters on the subject of the arrest of Colonel Malone, was duly received.
With every desire to remove from these letters anything which might be deemed obnoxious, I have reconsidered the contents of my letter of 27th [26th] ultimo, which was referred to by you as objectionable. I now return that correspondence with such modifications as a sense of justice to Colonel Malone and a proper respect for my own position will admit. If I do not make further modifications, it is because of the embarrassing position in which I am placed by the action of your headquarters, and from no want of appreciation of the necessity of that harmony which is so essential to the well-being of our country.
It is proper that I should briefly state to you some of the reasons which induce me to insist on the appeal which it is my duty to make from your action:
First. My paper of the 26th ultimo shows conclusively that until the President had announced a recall of my authority, I was entitled to exercise, subordinate to the strategic command you possessed, the authority of a department commander.
Second. That authority had been recognized by you up to a very recent period in various ways: First, in the different instances recapitulated in my paper of the 26th; second, in the reason assigned to General Polk for detaching a division from his corps to report to me, viz, that if you did not make some such assignment, I would appeal to the War Department; third, in the statement to General Longstreet that I was a separate department commander and you had no right to interfere with my command.
Third. The issuance of Special Orders, Numbers 260, from your headquarters as late as October 9, 1863. This was based upon an indorsement by me on a recent order from your office, the indorsement being dated headquarters Department of East Tennessee.