existing circumstances in terms which call in question the patriotism of officers of rank in this army. While such a cause is not calculated to engender the harmony of kind feeling which the President so desires, it will not prevent me from discharging the duty which I owe the country in strictly complying with your orders as my commander.
A review of my correspondence will show you that the language of my communications is respectful, and their tone is not that of insubordination or disrespect, but of an officer who feels that he has been aggrieved, who, while conscious of having discharged his duty both to you and to the country, is convinced that the weight of authority without any just cause is brought to humiliate him and to impair his efficiency to serve the country.
In conclusion, let me ask, general, that you too will review the correspondence and the facts, and do me the justice of thinking that though I may never have flattered you, I have dealt with you frankly, and that no soldier of your command has ever shown a more ready obedience to your legal orders, or is more ready to sacrifice now on the altar of the country all that an honorable soldier is permitted to sacrifice.
My letter to the President, which will show my determination to modify my first resolution as far as it may suit his wishes, will be transmitted through your headquarters to be forwarded.
I address this letter to you personally, because I judge from your having written direct it will best accord with your wishes.
I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
S. B. BUCKNER,
HEADQUARTERS CAVALRY IN MISSISSIPPI, Courtland, Ala., November 8, 1863.
Colonel GEORGE W. BRENT,
Asst. Ajdt. General, Army of Tennessee, near Chattanooga:
COLONEL: I write you this morning without having anything very special to communicate, and do so only to keep you thoroughly informed as to the condition of things in this direction.
Sherman's entire army corps has passed through Florence. His rear encamped about opposite this place last night.
The inclosed note* of direction left by General Sherman with a citizen near Rogersville, and brought in by one of my scouts, will show the route of the enemy and the cause of his deflection from a direct course from Eastport to Stevenson. This corps is moving rapidly forward. General Dodge, with his division, crossed the river at Eastport on Thursday (5th) last. He would reach Florence last night.
The exact destination of Dodge's division seems to be in doubt.
Information reaches me he is to occupy Florence as a post. Others report he is to follow on after Sherman. His intentions must be developed in a day or two. A party of scouts from Roddey's command captured [a train] on the other side of the river and destroyed some ten or twelve wagons. The mules were brought over and secured. Several of the enemy were killed, several wounded, and some 4 or 5 taken prisoners.
*See p. 670.