I have refrained, and I still refrain from asking for such a court; not because I do not desire the fullest examination of all my actions (I earnestly desire a most thorough and complete investigation when a suitable time shall arrive), but because such a proceeding would withdraw me from active service in the field during it continuance, and would require the presence as witnesses of officers who can ill be spared from their present duties. Even had I made a request for a court, it would not be necessary, nor would it be in accordance with the usages and customs of the service to relieve me from command before the commencement of its session. I therefore respectfully ask that the special order referred to may be countermanded,
I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Q. A. GILLMORE,
BERMUDA HUNDRED, June 16, 1864.
Commanding Dept. of Virginia and North Carolina:
GENERAL: In reply to your letter dated June 11,* stating certain grounds of dissatisfaction with my report of my operations on the 9th instant, I have the honor to respectfully submit the following statement:
Although I never received from you any detailed statement of your plan of the expedition, such as is given in your letter (pages 2 to 14 inclusive), it matters little, for the attacks were made at the three points mentioned by you, the infantry attacks were made at the three points mentioned by you, the infantry attacks on the right being in point of time about five hours earlier than the cavalry attacks on the left. I know nothing about your instructions to General Kautz as to an expedition down the railroad, except that I understood from him and yourself that he was instructed or authorized to make a raid whether he got into Petersburg or not. It was generally understood that the infantry should attack the enemy's left at two points where it was known the fortifications were formidable, while the cavalry where it was supposed to be weak, enter the city, burn the bridges, and retire. On page 6 you say that I took more regiments than I was authorized to take. Nothing was said between you and myself as to the number of regiments to go, but the number of men was fixed at 1,800. General Terry was directed to furnish 1,400 (see his letter+) and General Turner the remainder. The detail, except that the Seventh Connecticut was to form part of it, was left to General Terry. I ordered no regiment from from picket; neither did I neglect to furnish the necessary guides (see General Terry's letter and Colonel Hawley's report++). The troops marched to the pontoon bridge by the road in rear, because had they marched by the parapet the movement would have been observed by the enemy (see General Terry's letter). The troops started from the pontoon bridge toward Petersburg forty minutes later than appears to have been intended by you from your remarks on page 21-that is, they started at 3.40 instead of 3 o'clock. The infantry did not delay the cavalry in crossing the bridge, nearly all the cavalry crossed in advance of Hawley's brigade. You state (page 25) that I did not move until 5.30, while in fact I moved
*See p. 274.
++See p. 298.