War of the Rebellion: Serial 082 Page 0802 OPERATIONS IN SE.VA. AND N.C. Chapter LII.

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Petersburg on the 13th. On the same day he proceeded, under my orders, with me to Drewry's Bluff, where he arrived on the 14th. At this time General Butler was threatening the capital with a force largely superior to my own. There were with me [including Baker's] but one regiment of cavalry and fractions of two others, i.e., the Seventh South Carolina and parts of the Fifth South Carolina and Third North Carolina. They were essential to the protection of the right and left flanks of my command. They participated in the battle of the 16th of May at Drewry's Bluff, and so far from jeoparding the safety of the capital by delay in the execution of orders, contributed essential service in its defense. All the troops which could be spared from the capital were being sent to me to defend it on the south side, and it did not occur to me to send forward this regiment to Richmond merely to be returned to me for the important purposes already indicated. Although the enemy was defeated on the 16th and driven back to his works at Bermuda Hundred he still very largely outnumbered me, and held a menacing position dangerous to the safety of the capital. I did not deem it prudent and wise to send it, therefore, on the 17th to Richmond, but directed it to watch and protect my flank toward James River.

On the 22nd of May, Colonel Ferebee having relieved Colonel Baker with the Fourth North Carolina, Colonel Baker was ordered immediately to report to General Bragg at Richmond, which he did on the morning of the 23rd of May. If there was any unauthorized detention of this command it was certainly not for three weeks. It proceeded on the 6th in the direction of Richmond, and reached Drewry's Bluff on the 14th. The detention was from the 16th to the 22nd of May, authorized, I respectfully submit by the exigencies of the case and demonstrated by the signal service the command rendered on the 16th at Drewry's Bluff.

In conclusion I cannot forbear noticing further the last paragraph of General Bragg's letter:

The safety of the capital has been endangered thereby, and the censure has fallen on the Department, instead of on the delinquent insubordinate.

In view of the grave censure involved in this sentence, coming, as it does, with official sanction from a source so high, and conscious that my acts and conduct since I have assumed command of this department have been impelled solely by a sense of duty and a singleness of purpose for the public interests, and that my motives are free from any imputation of intentional "delinquency" or disobedience of orders no other alternative is left me but to demand, most respectfully, a court of inquiry to examine into and report upon the charge preferred against me.

Respectfully, your obedient servant,




HEADQUARTERS C. S. ARMIES, Richmond, May 30, 1864.


Adjutant and Inspector General:

GENERAL: I have the honor to inclose to you herewith for reference to the honorable Secretary of War, first, written replies of Colonel John A. Baker, commanding Third North Carolina Cavalry Regiment, to inquiries