War of the Rebellion: Serial 081 Page 0300 OPERATIONS IN SE. VA. AND N. C. Chapter LII.

Search Civil War Official Records

day for a ten-mile. The great fault of all our movements is dilatoriness, and if this is the fault of your division commanders let them be very severely reproved therefor. I have found it necessary to relieve one general for this, among other causes, where it took place in a movement of vital importance, and in justice to him you will hardly expect me to pass in silence a like fault where of less moment. The delay of Grouchy for three hours lost to Napoleon Waterloo and an empire, and we all remember the bitterness with which the emperor exclaimed as he waited for his tardy general, " II s'amuse a Gembloux."



Major-General, Commanding.


June 21, 1864-3.40 p. m.

[Major General B. F. BUTLER:]

GENERAL: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt the receipt of your extraordinary note of 9 a. m. In giving to your rank and experience all the respect which is their due, I must call your attention to the fact that a reprimand can only come from the sentence of a court-martial, and I shall accept nothing as such. You will also pardon me for observing that I have some years been engaged in marching troops, and I think in experience of that kind, at least, I am your superior. Your accusation of dilatoriness on my part this morning, or at any other time since I have been under your orders, is not founded on fact, and your threat of relieving me does not frighten me in the least.

Your obedient servant,



JUNE 21, 1864-5.30 p. m.

General SMITH:

When a friend writes you a note is it not best to read it twice before you answer unkindly? If you will look at my note you will find that it contains no threat; on the contrary, there are some words interlined, lest upon reading it over it might be possibly so construed. Please read the note again and see if you cannot wish the reply was not sent. Pardon me for saying in all sincerity that I never thought you in fault as to the movement, as I understood your orders to be as mine were.

Truly, your friend,


JUNE 21, 1864-5.45 p. m.


General SMITH:

When a friend writes you a note is it not best to read it twice before you answer it unkindly? If you will look again will find that it contains neither an accusation nor a threat. The last t could not certainly contain, as I would not allow anybody but yourself to say you could be "frightened;" and you will observe some words interlined, lest it might possibly be thought to bear that meaning. No accusation is made, but the fact stated and a suggestion that if the fault was where I supposed it might be, as I saw only a part of the column, that