War of the Rebellion: Serial 081 Page 0522 OPERATIONS IN SE.VA. AND N.C. Chapter LII.

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Assistant Adjutant-General, Army of the Potomac:

The column was moving toward Petersburg. Those Ohio cavalrymen are with the detachment of General Wilson's cavalry that we have been all day collecting at the breast-works, and are under charge of Colonel Bryan. I saw no reason why these men should have been sent to headquarters any more than any others who had stories to tell. I supposed that the commanding general had authentic information from General Wright still, as soon as Colonel Bryan related it to me I transmitted it to headquarters for what it was worth, not supposing but that the commanding general had better information. Now that I know that these men are wanted at headquarters of the army I will direct Colonel Bryan to pick them out and send them there.




Brigadier General S. WILLIAMS,

Assistant Adjutant-General, Army of the Potomac:

GENERAL: I received the telegram that General Gibbon had been directed to relieve the two regiments for guard at headquarters of the army, which had been on my line since yesterday morning. As the telegraph was as short to my headquarters as to those of General Gibbon, and I am directly responsible to the major-general commanding for the safety of the line, not General Gibbon, I venture to suggest, with great deference and without any desire to find fault, that I should have been directed to relieve the troops, not General Gibbon; or that General Gibbon should advance have received the order through me. General Gibbon may have had troops disposable to relieve these regiments but it is more likely I had. The relieving of these troops was a question between General Gibbon and myself, and it turns out that they were relieved by General Ferrero, who was not placed under General Gibbon's command, as I have since ascertained by referring to General Gibbon. I respectfully suggest that subordination would have been better preserved by addressing the order for relief to me, and it would have been but just, as I would have suffered had the line been lost any irregularity in the withdrawal of these troops. I repeat that I do not wish to find fault, but the circumstances are critical, and when I have a responsibility I would prefer having the first information, and having the discretion of giving the needful orders in the case. As it proves by reference to General Gibbon, I find that instead of using the reserve troops of another division which I had placed under his command, General Ferrero relieved the regiments in question, probably prior to the order for relief to General Gibbon. Although General Gibbon is a valuable officer I feel safer in using my own discretion than in referring to his.

I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Major-General of Volunteers, Commanding.