War of the Rebellion: Serial 108 Page 0523 Chapter LXIII. CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.-CONFEDERATE.

Search Civil War Official Records

that I did not run away from any enemy, but removed simply to take better position. There was not the least danger from the enemy's gun-boat shot and shell when they did come up, and I did not move away until I obstructed the canal, and which, as has since appeared, need not to have been obstructed. It was an error to have obstructed it. This has been proved by the enemy's obstructions since, for they have aided General Huger's orders by sinking themselves several obstructions to passing through the canal. They were going to Pamlic Sound and wished to prevent the passage of gun-boats in their rear, and of transportation for General Huger's army of either troops or supplies. It is doubtful whether their broad-beam steamers could pass through the canal, or if through the canal up the Currituck Sound. I left cavalry pickets there and ordered them to remain until otherwise ordered. The point required no defense and other points did. From the evening of the 13th to the morning of the 16th I was on a march of thirty miles through a storm of cold rain. For these two days I could not write to General Huger, but I was at no time falling back on Norfolk. That he needed defenses at Great Bridge he admits by having ordered them. He met me at that point on the 16th, as I have described, I having the five companies under Colonel Corprew, three companies of infantry of the legion under Lieutenant-Colonel Richardson, and three companies of light artillery with six field pieces under Colonel Henningsen, the latter having joined me on the way from Currituck Court-House. Instead of notifying me that he would ask to consider my brigade as supernumerary in his department, and to relieve me from duty, he repeatedly said on parting, "It is well as it is; remain where you are and recruit your men; " and allowed the command of the post to be turned over to me. As to my legion, or his opinion of it, I do not believe that he has ever seen but a few companies of it - those at Great Bridge - if he saw them; and he is now wholly and culpably ignorant both of its material and personnel. But twenty-one of its companies ever were sent to his department, and he may have seen six of them only after a defeat and long and severe march in bad weather. I have no hesitation in claiming for these six that for service they are more than equal to any six in his command. Certain it is that the legion and its commander feel stronger now that they are removed from the command of Major-General Huger; so that, so far as our separation is concerned, we are both stronger and better off; but I regret only that there are unsettled accounts of responsibility between us which remain to be adjusted. He should account for his responsibilities at Roanoke Island. I have demanded a court of inquiry upon my own conduct of the defenses there, involving his conduct of them. His letter of the 16th was sinister, disingenuous, and incorrect in statement, and I have reason to believe that he addressed a letter or order to one at least of his subordinates and mine (Colonel Wright), who was sent to operate in the district assigned to my command at Elizabeth City, N. C., not to obey any orders - the orders of his superior - or informing him that he was not to regard my command as having authority over him and the forces under him. I ask, then, that the Department will exert its authority to order General Huger to furnish copies of his letters or orders to any or all officers whom he sent to the district assigned to my command east of Chowan River, in North Carolina, after the disaster at Roanoke Island on the 8th of February last.

I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,