War of the Rebellion: Serial 088 Page 1071 Chapter LIV. CORRESPONDENCE,ETC.-UNION.

Search Civil War Official Records

HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC, September 28, 1864. (Sent 11.55 p.m.)

Brigadier-General BENGHAM,

Commanding Engineer Brigade, City Point:

The cavalry picked will be withdrawn to-night. You might send out an advanced post.


Major-General and Chief of Staff.


Lieutenant Colonel T. S. BOWERS,

Asst. Adjt. General, in the Field, Armies of the United States:

COLONEL: I have the honor to solicit your attention to the inclosed copy of an order published by Major-General Gibbon on the 30th ultimo, with my indorsement thereon, and to the printed orders of the major-general commanding the Army of the Potomac confirming and approving General Gibbon's order.* It will be seen that general gibbon deprived three regiments of his division of the privilege of bearing colors (they having lost their color at the battle of Reams' Station, August 25); that I approved of the principle, but requested that if it was adopted the rule might be made general, and affect other corps as well as my own; and, finally, that General Meade overruled my suggestion and singled these regiments-the Eight New York Heavy Artillery, One hundred and sixty-fourth New York Volunteers, and Thirty-sixth Wisconsin Volunteers-to be published to the army as having rendered themselves unworthy to carry colors. This without regard to the fact that in the same action other regiments of my command lost colors, and that but a few days before several regiments of another corps had met with the same misfortune. Under the circumstances, I respectfully submit that these regiments have been proceeded against with unnecessary severity, and a slur cast upon the corps which I have the honor to command, which, in view of the past, might well be omitted. It is perhaps known to you that this corps never lost a gun or a color previous to this campaign, though oftener and more desperately engaged than any other corps in this army, or perhaps any other in the country. I have not the means of knowing exactly the number of guns or color captured, but I saw myself nine in the hands of one division at Antietam, and official reports show that thirty-four fell into the hands of the corps at Gettysburg. Before the opening of this campaign it had at least captured over half a hundred colors from the enemy, and never yielded one, though at the cost of 25,000 casualties. During the campaign you can judge how well the corps has performed its part. It has captured more guns and colors than all the army combined. Its reverses have not been many, and they began only when the corps had dissolved to a remnant of its former strength; after it had lost 25 brigade commanders, and over 125 regimental commanders, and over 20,000 men. I submit that with the record of this corps, that it is in the highest degree unjust by a retrospective order to publish a part of it as unworthy to bear colors. It is not necessary to speak more particularly as to the injustice done to these regiments, the principle discussed covering their case. I may say, however, that these


*See General Orders, No. 63, p.595, and General Orders, No. 37, p.981.