War of the Rebellion: Serial 056 Page 0667 Chapter XLIII. CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.-CONFEDERATE.

Search Civil War Official Records

recognized it until the 20th. On that date I received the first intimation that you thought it had expired, and I immediately ceased to exercise it. Notwithstanding this, you seem to censure me for having exercised, during the time you recognized it, the authority which you and the War Department had both conferred, and appear to assume that I am continuing to exercise its functions even after I have ceased to do so. I have endeavored to convince you that this was unjust; that you had no right to censure me in the first case, because it was my duty to do what I did, and that you had no right to rebuke me in the second case because I was not doing what you insisted I continued to do.

It is probably from a want of appreciation on you part of my position, as there defined, that you have by an incomplete presentation of the facts in issue-perhaps unintentionally-done wrong to me in your ex parte statement of the case to the President; otherwise, it would seem very ungraceful in you, when you had so freely encouraged me in the exercise of the authority, to have drawn upon a junior, by an incomplete presentation of the facts, an unmerited reproof from the Chief of the Nation.

His letter shows that the facts as I have presented them were not before him. But his decision, however incomplete may have been the facts presented for his consideration, governs my conduct. I feed it, however, more than ever due to me that my own view of the subject, as presented in my paper of the 26th ultimo, should be laid before him, not with the view that he may recall his decision, but that he may see the motives which have influenced my action, and judge, with all the facts of the case before him, whether or not I was justified, under all the circumstances of recognition by you, in exercising, to the limited extent that I did, the departmental authority which was originally vested in me. I request, therefore, that it be laid before him with that view.

You say, general, that you have been surprised and pained at the language and tone of my recent correspondence with your headquarters. I regret as deeply as any one that there should have been any occasion for the recent correspondence between us. Controversies of every sort are distasteful to me, and I avoid them when I can do so. But I think, if you will reflect upon the present one, you will agree that it was one which I was compelled to meet. But the circumstances which preceded and attended the correspondence, rightly viewed, will show that instead of designing any discourtesy to you I have, while continuing the faithful discharge of my public duties, limited my supposed aggressions to a defense against what I regard the unmerited discourtesies which have been inflicted upon me from your headquarters.

You have a right to demand, and I will not hesitate to yield, the most implicit obedience to your legal orders, but there is nothing in the military code which contemplates the servile endurance of unmerited rebuke. So far from desiring to disturb the harmony of this army, you are yourself aware, general, of the fact that I offered, in justice to you, to relinquish my command in this army in favor of any officer who could support you with his favorable opinions as well as by his acts of obedience.

I have avoided giving publicity to the state of feeling in this army. If it has been done, it is by that portion of the public press understood to speak the inspirations of the correspondents and others about your headquarters, which is constantly making allusions to