of the Fifteenth New York Cavalry, thus rendering the part of the regiment here of little value. The major-general commanding begs that you will tax your resources to find means by which all officers, non-commissioned officers, and enlisted men, belonging to regiments, battalions, or independent companies in this command, may be forthwith returned for duty here, where their services are so urgently and immediately needed. And in particular General Hunter desires that you will at once endeavor to relieve all the cavalry detachments belonging to General Stahel's division now serving in the district under your command.
The major-general commanding relies upon your cordial co-operation, and while not wishing you to do anything that would strip your district and the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad of necessary protection, the trusts and believes that you will fully appreciate the importance of making the army in the field as effective as possible;and that you will give prompt personal attention to the execution of so much of these instructions as may not be in direct opposition to your views of the force of the force necessary to the discharge of your own duties.
I have the honor to be, general very respectfully, your obedient servant,
CHAS. G. HALPINE,
WHEELING, W. VA., May 23, 1864.
Hon. W. H. SEWARD,
Secretary of State, Washington City:
SIR: I feel it due to the kindness you have always shown me that I should explain the cause of my having requested to be relieved from duty under General Sigel just before the battles, and which conduct I felt after the fighting began might be attributed to want of courage or of interest in the cause. I found myself directed to command an important expedition through the heart of Virginia, planned by General Grant, the men, material, and details to be provided by the general commanding the department, who, for good and sufficient reasons, had been placed in his command by the President. The success of the expedition depended as much upon its strength and organization as upon its proper management after starting. I made up my mind to make no complaints of my department commander, and when I found what sort of force he had provided, this left me to choose either failure and defeat, or a recommendation that my expedition be abandoned.
On examining the subject and the respective strength of the three columns - General Sigel's, General Crook's, and mine - about to start, I found that if mine was abandoned the force would go mainly to General Crook, and that he needed it. Reports to this effect were made to General Grant at the same time that I requested to be relieved. The force allowed me by General Sigel was about one-half what he was directed should be the least force of my column, and I now state that when I informed him that he was to come to a certain point with supplies that my men might not starve, he stated to me in so many words, "I don't think I shall do it. I don't think I shall do it;" an I knew he would not. As I had been sent to the department of General Sigel only to command that expedition, with its abandonment my presence there ceased to be necessary.