War of the Rebellion: Serial 086 Page 0845 Chapter LIII. CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.-UNION

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In July last I was assign to a command comprising no more troops than were in the district assigned to you, yet with this small force, less than a major's command, I took the field and made a campaign against the hostile Indians on the plains, and remained with them until properly relieved and assigned to another command. I did not for a moment think of disobeying the order by declining the command assigned me, or make any protest or complaint. Had I done either I would probably have found myself in the same situation that you have unfortunately placed yourself. As I propose always to obey the orders of my superiors, so do I expect to exact obedience from my subordinates, and of I err by making any improper or unjust demands upon any one, every legitimate channel shall be open to them to seek redress. Since you have seen proper to draw a comparison between yourself and other commanders of the same grade, I will take this occasion to call your attention to the fact that I have found the discipline of your regiment (the Fifteenth Kansas) not as good as I would desire it to be, and in that respect does not compare favorably with other Kansas regiments, not but the material composing it was as good as in other regiments, but that many of them have been too susceptible to bad teaching and have been too ready to carry out the policy of their superiors. After hearing your speech to your command at Hickman Mills, Mo., on the 15th of October, I was not much surprised at the disorderly conduct of some of your command. If they were to carry out the peculiar ideas promulgated by yourself on the occasion referred to, but little could be expected of them in the matter of discipline. During the recent campaign many acts (said to have been done by your orders) came under my observation which, if they could have been justified at all, could only have been done by direction of the superior officer in command; but even these things might have been overlooked as unintentional errors, or forgotten in the midst of stirring events that followed, had not your conduct, while intrusted to act independently in the absence of superior authority, been of such a character as will forever cast a field. It was unfortunate for me, as well as for the reputation of our troops, that I erred in judgment in placing you in command of the forces that were directed to return from the Arkansas River after the pursuit of Price had been abandoned. It was expected of you, as your orders directed, that you would move through Washington and Benton Counties, Ark., for the purpose of meeting the supply train, and then proceed through Southwest Missouri directly to Fort Scott, with as little delay as possible. You were out of the department to which you belonged, and you were not expected to interfere with any one, unless it was an armed enemy you might chance to met. The police regulations in Arkansas, whether good or bad, neither you nor your superiors were responsible for, but your superiors are responsible for your conduct while passing through another military department. If I am to believe one-half that has been reported to me by officers who were present, the most outrageous acts of vandalism were perpetrated while on your return march that have occurred anywhere during the war; and I am told that these acts were done by your direction, and, further, that you represented to your victims that they were done by my order. I am glad to know that a large proportion of the officers under your command at the time referred to protested against the outrageous acts that were committed, but they cannot but feel the disrepute and disgrace your conduct has brought upon the First Division of the Army of the Border. This matter is now being investigated in the