CONFIDENTIAL.] HEADQUARTERS NINTH ARMY CORPS,
July 4,. 1864
Commanding Army of the Potomac:
GENERAL: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of last evening. I am very sorry that I should have been so unfortunate in expressing myself in my letter. It was written in haste, just after receiving the necessary data upon which to strengthen an opinion already pretty well formed. I assure you in all candor that I never dreamed of implying any lack of confidence in your ability to do all that is necessary in any grand movement which may be undertaken by your army. Were you to personally direct an attack from my front I would feel the utmost confidence, and were I called upon to support an attack from the front of the Second or Sixth Corps, directed by yourself or by either of the commanders of those corps, I would do it with confidence and cheerfulness. It is hardly necessary for me to say that I have had the utmost faith in your ability to handle troops ever since my acquaintance with you in the Army of the Potomac, and certainly accord to you a much higher position in the art of war than I possess, and I at the same time entertain the greatest respect for the skill of the two gentlemen commanding the Second and Sixth Corps; so that my duty to the country, to you, and to myself, forbids that I should for a moment assume to embarrass you or them by an assumption of position or authority. I simply desired to ask the privilege of calling upon them for support, at such times and at such points as I thought advisable. I would gladly accord to either of them the same support, and would be glad to have either of them lead the attack; but it would have been obviously improper for me to have suggested that any other corps than my own should make the attack in my front. What I asked in reference to calling upon the other corps for support is only what I have been called upon to do and have cheerfully done myself in regard to other corps commanders. If a copy of my letter has been forwarded to the General-in-Chief, which I take for granted has been done, that he may be possessed of my full opinion, it may make the same impression upon him as upon yourself, and I beg that you will correct it; in fact I beg that such impression may be as far as possible removed wherever it has made a lodgment. My desire is to support you, and in doing that I am serving the country. With ordinary good fortune we can pretty safely promise to finish the mine in a week-I hope in less time.
I have the honor to be, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
A. E. BURNSIDE.
Major-General, Commanding Ninth Army Corps.
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC.
July 24, 1864.
Major J. C. DUANE,
Acting Chief Engineer, Army of the Potomac:
MAJOR: Please give me, with as little delay as practicable,your views on the expediency of an assault on the enemy's works after a suc-
*Nos. 65 and 66 are maps to appear in the Atlas.