Much less did I suppose that at the same time that I retired from the rank of a general officer in the service of the United States to the rank of my old commission I should find officers whom I had left in the administrative corps of the army of the same rank as or of less rank than myself, and who have not served in the field, bearing the rank of general officers in the regular army, conferred on them by brevet for bureau or exclusively administrative duties. Yet it is plain from what is now occurring that such must be the conclusion. I confess that the view which has been opened to me by a sight of the list of brevets in the regular army has been humiliating in the extreme, for I must believe that the duties I have been performing have been deliberately adjudged by the highest authorities to be interior to those of administration in subordinate branches of the Government, unless, indeed, through some cause, no representations concerning the field services of myself and others have reached the Government. I beg that I may not be misunderstood. I raise no objection whatever to conferring such promotions as those I have noticed, but to the omission to confer others, an omission keenly felt by other officers as well as myself. The brevets that have been given should follow, not precede, the promotion of those in the field. It is no answer to my statement to say, that when the time arrives for officers of the regular army to return to their corps and regiments, the discrepancies in their positions will be rectified. To assert that the wrong will be rectified, is no justification of its commission. If one of the two classes of officers must wait for reward, it certainly should not be the class that fights the battles.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
A. A. HUMPHREYS,
Major-General of Volunteers.
SPECIAL ORDERS, HEADQUARTERS SECOND ARMY CORPS, No. 50.
Before Petersburg, Va., February 26, 1865.
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2. Brigadier General T. A. Smyth, U. S. Volunteers, upon being relieved from the command of the Second Division by Brigadier-General Hays, will resume command of his old brigade.
By command of Major-General Humphreys:
CHAS. A. WHITTIER,
HDQRS. THIRD Brigadier, THIRD DIV., SECOND ARMY CORPS,
February 26, 1865.
Major WILLIAM R. DRIVER,
Asst. Adjt. General, Third Division, Second Army Corps:
MAJOR: In compliance with orders received last night, I have the honor to report that I sent trusty scouting parties out in front before daybreak, under charge of Captain Bowers, Eighth New Jersey Volunteers. They went right and left of the barn in front of this brigade, within fifty yards of the enemy's picket-posts; saw from three to four rebels on a post; no vedettes in their front, and about fifty yards in rear of their pickets a line of breast-works, with their quarters in the rear. At daybreak seven different reveilles were beaten. On the line