SATURDAY MORNING, July 2, 1864.
Lieutenant General U. S. GRANT,
Commanding Armies of the United States:
GENERAL: In acknowledge you dispatch with reference to my leave, I consider it due to you, who have been so kind to me, and to myself who has never had anything but the warmest wish for your success and for the prosperous termination of this war, to render some explanation. One of my troubles, that of my head, has three times driven me from a southern climate, and I really feel quite helpless here, unable to go out at all during the heat of the day even to visit my lines, and therefore I do not do the duty of a corps commander as I think it should be done. I have during this war held my health and my life at the service of the country when I thought I was doing any good, and as I stand now, unfortunately, and as I think I can say with the clearest conscience from no fault of my own, I have deemed that some other with more ambition and no hostilities could better serve the country here in my place; therefore, I was in nowise called upon to risk a permanent disability by remaining here. I wish to say to you, unofficially, that from the time I joined the Department of Virginia until the campaign terminated disgracefully I gave to the work the utmost energies of mind and body. Then I wanted to be where I could be useful, and, thinking the more troops there were in this department the more blunders and murders would be committed, I went gladly to the Army of the Potomac with the most hearty good will and intentions. In looking back over the sneers and false charges and the snubbings I received there I only wonder, general, at my own moderation. I then came back, thinking that you presence here would prevent blunders, and that I could once more be useful. Two letters have been written to me which I think any gentleman would be ashamed to acknowledge as emanating from him and for which there was not even the shadow of an excuse. This had induced me to believe that some one else would be of far more service here than I am. And as my only ambition is to be of service, I determined to present the just plea of my health to remove one of the obstacles to harmony in this army, and that, general, if you will look closely into the campaign, you will find to be one of the causes of want of success when you needed and expected it. In conclusion, general, I am willing to do anything and endure anything which will be of service to the country or yourself. Now I am through with the personal, and I want simply to call your attention to the fact that no man since the Revolution has had a tithe of the responsibility which now rests on your shoulders, and to ask you how you can place a man in command of two army corps, who is as helpless as a child on the field of battle and as visionary as an opium eater in council, and that, too, when you have such men as Franklin and Wright available to help you, to make you famous for all time and our country great and free beyond all other nations of the world. Think of it, my dear general, and let your good sense and not your heart decide questions of this kind.
WM. F. SMITH.
HEADQUARTERS EIGHTEENTH ARMY CORPS,
July 2, 1864.
Brigadier-General RAWLINS, Chief of Staff, City Point:
There is a good deal of reorganization to be done in this command, and therefore I dare not take advantage of the general's kindness and