we say they desire his return to command them, and we plainly say for ourselves we want no better commander to lead us to victory. We therefore most respectfully petition that he be restored to his former command.
G. A. MARTIN,
Captain Company I, Thirty-eighth Virginia.
[And 84 others.]
HEADQUARTERS BARTON'S BRIGADE,
Below Drewry's Bluff, May 18, 1864.
So far as I have been able to ascertain General Barton has the entire confidence of his brigade, and I would be gratified to see him restored to the command.
B. D. FRY,
Colonel Thirteenth Alabama Regiment.
CAMP OF BARTON'S BRIGADE,
May 11, 1864.
General S. COOPER,
Adjutant and Inspector General:
GENERAL: We, the undersigned officers of this brigade, have the honor to ask that Brigadier General S. M. Barton be restored to the command of which he was to-day relieved. In making this request we are actuated by no feeling of disrespect or opposition to Colonel Fry, who was assigned to the brigade on General Barton being relieved. On the contrary, we highly respect and esteem the former officer for the reputation which accompanies him, though he is a stranger to us; but General Barton has been long and pleasantly associated with us. We have a high regard for him as a man and confidence in him as an officer. We have seen and admired his gallantry in action, and we cannot but believe that his removal from his brigade is the result of a misconception of facts, a correct knowledge of which would relieve him of any censure. Moreover, general, his removal from this brigade immediately after its participation in an action where it sustained itself with credit against heavy odds, casts an aspersion upon either the general or the troops, which we believe no facts in the case will justify. Our officers and men deeply fell the mortification of such action at such a time, and are sure that no action of theirs or their commanding general called for his removal. Second to our country our military credit is dearest to us, and as the removal of General Barton affects it, we respectfully ask that he be restored to his brigade.
We have the honor to be, general, very respectfully, your obedient servants,
WM. R. AYLETT,
Colonel Fifty-third Virginia Regiment.
JAS. J. PHILLIPS,
Colonel Ninth Virginia Infantry.
C. R. FONTAINE,
Colonel Fifty-seventh Virginia Regiment.
GEO. K. GRIGGS,
Captain Commanding Thirty-eighth Virginia Regiment
Colonel, Commanding Fourteenth Regiment.