HEADQUARTERS TWENTY-FIFTH ARMY CORPS,
In the Field, December 5, 1864.
Lieutenant Colonel E. W. SMITH,
Assistant Adjutant-General, Dept. of Va. and N. C.:
SIR: I have just been shown the inclosed document* with the indorsement of the major-general commanding, and were I not so intimately acquainted with the handwriting of the general commanding I should doubt the authenticity of the indorsement. I, therefore, return it immediately, and most respectfully beg leave to protest against any such a communication being sent me. If I deserve such a punishment as the censure that is expressed in that indorsement I must be tried by a proper tribunal first before I will submit to it. There is nothing in my official action since the first day I joined the general commanding in 1862 to this or in my conduct toward him which warrants such an insulting and uncalled for rebuke. General Ord and myself occupied adjacent tents when that order came, and our names were signed on one communication because it saved one sheet of paper, and as far as my signature was concerned it was made with the best intention in the world, namely, to cause an impracticable order to be reconsidered, and this was done in the most respectful manner. There was no idea of concert of action or "joint weight." I had, at the moment the order came, no command, no adjutant-general, no office, for the Tenth Corps machinery had not reported to me yet. This was another and a very potent reason why I signed my name under that of General Ord.
I am, sir, very respectfully,
Major-General, Commanding Twenty-fifth Corps.
HDQRS. SECOND DIV., 25TH ARMY CORPS,
In the Field, Va., December 5, 1864.
I. The One hundred and seventeenth U. S. Colored Troops is hereby assigned to the First Brigade of this command. The commanding officer will report with his command to Colonel James Shaw, jr., immediately.
* * * * * *
By command of Brigadier General William Birney:
JAMES B. WEST,
First Lieutenant Aide-de-Camp and Acting Assistant Adjutant-General.
HEADQUARTERS DEFENSES OF BERMUDA HUNDRED,
ARMY OF THE JAMES,
December 5, 1864
COLONEL: Colonel Bates, commanding brigade, has been ordered to send you at once a regiment of at least 500 men. As soon as it reports you will put them in the position now occupied by the Sixty-second Ohio Volunteers and the One hundred and fifteenth New York Volun-
*See Ord and Weitzel to Turner, December 4, p. 800.