GENERAL BUTLER'S HEADQUARTERS, July 26, 1864.
(Received 10.10 a.m.)
Your dispatch received. The commanding general directs me to say that Turner cannot be relieved just now. Are you sure that these troops of the Nineteenth Corps were properly instructed? Were they ordered to fight on the picket-line? The charges against these troops made by Foster seem strange to me, who has seen them behave as gallantly, fight as desperately, and in as difficult places as any soldiers in the U. S.army. Their commander, Colonel Currie, was adjutant to Major General W. F. Smith all through the battles of the Army of the Potomac; has been wounded three times, and was promoted for gallantry. Has not something else something to do with their apparent misbehavior?
HDQRS. DEPT. OF VIRGINIA AND NORTH CAROLINA, In the Field,
July 26, 1864-9.30 a.m.
(Received 12 m.)
I have received General Foster's dispatch relating to Currie's brigade. I am inclined to think that Foster's censure is a little too sweeping, although I can well pardon the vexation of an officer at the loss of what he had so gallantly won. The fault is that these troops have not been taught the necessity of fighting a skirmish line, but have been used to retire, when an attack has been made with show of force, to the main line. I think it is rather a fault of instructions than of conduct. General Foster will remember that we had the same trouble with the Tenth Corps, and better men never breathed,when we first established our picket-line about the 20th of May of the Bermuda line. I hope General Foster will regain his line. It is impossible to make the change of Turner's division you suggest. Please communicate this telegram to General Foster.
BENJ. F. BUTLER,
(Transmitted by Birney to Foster.)
HEADQUARTERS TENTH ARMY CORPS, July 26, 1864-12 m.
I am about leaving for General Foster's command-Deep Bottom.
D. B. BIRNEY,
HEADQUARTERS TENTH ARMY CORPS, July 26, 1864.
Chief of Staff:
General Foster holds the New Market and Malvern Hill road. Had a sharp skirmish; lost some fifteen killed. The enemy showed considerable force.
D. B. BIRNEY,