HEADQUARTERS SECOND ARMY CORPS,
November 1, 1864.
General Gibbon states that he did not desire the general order countermanded, as implied in my indorsement, but modified. I inclose General Gibbon's letter of October 2,* herewith, from which it will be seen that he certainly desired the order countermanded so far as relates to the other regiments in question, in order that it should not be retrospective with reference to them. This was the point I referred to when I stated that General Gibbon desired the order countermanded. Not having a copy of his letter at hand at the time I made my indorsement, I used the term countermanded as a common-sense expression, referring to the three regiments, and did not recollect whether General Gibbon used the word countermanded, modified, or what. It is not a material point, but a mere question of words. General Gibbon now says he does not desire the order revoked in any other way than by returning the colors to these regiments after having been in action and shown again their ability to carry them. Yet, his very application of October 2 asks that the order be countermanded, revoked, or modified as to these three regiments, because the order is not general in reference to them. General Gibbon also states that he knew the Twentieth Massachusetts had lost their colors at the same time, but could not then investigate the merits of this case. The merits of the case were well known to General Miles, under whose command the regiment was at the time, and who says the regiment surrendered, almost to a man, without doing anything. I had always understood from General Gibbon that it was an accidental omission in leaving out the Twentieth Massachusetts. Nothing since has been done as to this regiment, and it is therefore and exception to the order, as it applies to the other three regiments.
I have thus reviewed the matter, as General Gibbon has apparently contradicted my statement as to these points. I have shown him this indorsement.
WINF'D S. HANCOCK,
[Inclosure Numbers 4.+]
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC,
September 29, 1864.
The right of the commanding general of an army to deprive a regiment of its colors, for cause, does not seem to be disputed by Major-General Hancock, nor is its exercise in these particular cases questioned by him on the merits of the case, but he objects because he stipulated that it should only be exercised provided all other regiments in this army having lost colors should be similarly treated. In this I thought proper to differ with Major-General Hancock, and it is respectfully submitted the exercise of this undoubted privilege cannot justify a protest on Major-General Hancock's part against the exercise of a legitimate prerogative on mine. The matter here is simply this: First, have
*See p. 40.
+Indorsement on Hancock to Bowers, for which see Part II, p.1071.
32 R R-VOL XLII, PT III