All this, and my never having had to present my back to an enemy, my being placed under General S.,mortified me and caused the step I took. The Secretary of War, I learned, sustains me, as does General Grant. General Schneck has been prejudiced against me by his former chief of staff, Donn Piatt, whom I found it necessary once to treat sternly. Perhaps if General Schneck knew me we would be better friends, for I hear he thinks I should be dismissed. Excuse my taxing your time, and should the opportunity occur, I would be gratified to think the President had learned the contents of this letter.
I am, sir, with great respect, your obedient servant,
E. O. C. ORD,
Major-General of Volunteers.
HDQRS. DEPT. OF WEST VIRGINIA, No. 30.
In the Field, near Cedar Creek, May 23, 1864.
I. Captain Michael Auer, Company A, Fifteenth New York Cavalry, having, on the morning of the 22nd instant, allowed a reserve picket guard of about thirty men under his command to be disgracefully surprised and captured by a party of the enemy, consisting of mounted and dismounted men, the reserve picket guard not firing a shot, and the result being the loss on our side of 11 men, 45 horses, and some small-arms captures, Captain Michael Auer, Company A, Fifteenth New York Cavalry, is hereby dishonorably discharged the service of the United States from this date subject to the approval of His Excellency the President, to whom this order will be immediately forwarded.*
II. The major-general commanding accepts this opportunity of announcing that all officers commanding guards, outposts, and pickets will be held strictly responsible for the performance of their duties, and that no excuse will be accepted for such officers, if guilty of negligence, inactivity, or misconduct before the enemy. In this department, and especially on the expedition now about moving, the vigilant and effectual performance of outpost and picket duty is of supreme importance, involving the safety and success of the entire command. Officers if outpost and picket, assailed by a superior force, who do their whole duty, feel the enemy's strength, and fall back fighting, bringing with them all attainable information, will be promptly recognized and their good conduct rewarded; but toward derelict officers of guards, outposts, and pickets, no leniency will in any case be shown, as any error on the side of mercy in such cases would be a crime against the whole command, but in jeopardy by their negligence or inefficiency. This order will be read immediately upon its receipt at the head of every regiment, battalion, and company in the troops composing the army in the field.
By command of Major-General Hunter:
CHAS. G. HALPINE,
*By direction of the President, upon the recommendation of his department commander, by whom he was originally dismissed, and on the report of the Judge-Advocate-General, the dismissal of Captain Auer was revoked, and he was honorably discharged to date March 6, 1864. (See Special Orders, No. 467, Adjutant-General's Office, August 30, 1865.)