War of the Rebellion: Serial 080 Page 0174 OPERATIONS IN SE. VA. AND N. C. Chapter LII.

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I respectfully submit the foregoing plain statement of facts is of itself sufficient to justify my application for General Burnside being relieved, and to convince the lieutenant-general commanding that I cannot be, and ought to be, held responsible for the handling of this army where such an extraordinary course is adopted by a subordinate officer.

The lieutenant-general commanding having ordered an investigation into the causes of the recent lamentable failure to take advantage of what I consider one of the most brilliant opportunities for success offered in this war, I have omitted in the charges and specifications now inclosed any charge against Major-General Burnside for neglect, of duty and disobedience of orders in the conduct of that affair, although I have reason to believe that in the preliminary arrangements and subsequent handling of his troops his course is open to criticism, if not grave censure. The lieutenant-general commanding is aware Major-General Burnside, although my senior in rank, was placed under my command for the better securing an efficient organization and administration of the forces operating together. Although professing the utmost willingness to serve under my command, General Burnside has nevertheless repeatedly in various ways performed acts and exercised powers inconsistent with his position as a subordinate, and among others was that of assuming the authority to take off of the telegraph wires messages not addressed to him, and thus frequently making public matters which both the lieutenant-general and myself desired to keep secret. This assumption of authority, I regret to say, has continued after my distinctly informing General Burnside such action was irregular and unauthorized. Upon several occasions General Burnside has thought proper to place a construction on my official acts and dispatches utterly inconsistent with the relations existing between us, and not justified by any reasoning based on ordinary charity and common sense. In the cases an appeal to his intelligence, when his passion has subsided, has produced an expression of regret on his part for his unguarded ebullitions of temper, and I should be disposed to treat in the same way his amusing charge of unofficer-like and ungentlemanly conduct, because in the exercise of my prerogative as commanding general on the field of battle, I wished to be advised of the exact condition of affairs, but my patience and forbearance are exhausted, and I think the time has arrived when General Burnside should understand disrespectful and insubordinate language cannot be used in official communications with impunity. I have no personal feeling in this matter, and fully appreciate the many good qualities of General Burnside, especially his earnest zeal in the discharge of his duties, but it is out of the question, after what has passed, that there can be that harmony and co-operation between us which ought to exist, and I am compelled to ask his relief.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Major-General, Commanding.


Charges and specifications preferred against Major General Ambrose E. Burnside, commanding Ninth Army Corps.

CHARGE I.- Disobedience of orders.

Specification 1st. - In this: That Major General Ambrose E. Burnside, commanding Ninth Army Corps, being charged with certain important