Gap. Its is true that time has elapsed sufficient for the Federal troops to know every path acrosxs the mountain, and native guides, doubtless, always in readiness to poin, yet, if by any turn, a statement of mine shouldbe used to the prejudice of my country I should regard myself as blamable in the highest degree. Permit me to say, my dear sir, that there is no want of confidence in your honor that makes me hesitate now to make a full statement but a remembrance that our correspondence cannot be confidential. I htink although that my duty does not prevent my saying that I did have the honor of commanding a brigade at the time mentioned by you, and had opened the weay proposed for use sufficiently to cross the mountain, and had effected a crossing on the morning of July 18, 1862 (if not mistaken in the date), the morning the last of your troops left the gap. Without going into detail I will say that in a short time our troops would have covered the Yellow Creek road and the Harlan County road in your rear, and would have thus fully cut of fyour retreat, your front being pressed at same time. I twas the opinion of every officer of rank in our command that you moved exactly at the proper time, and with great skil land judgment. Let it be borne in mind that afew days previous General Leadbetter was in your rear, and of course the difficulites of reterat would have been greatly enhanced. His moving off and our other plans not consummated left the way open for you, and you wisely availed yourself of the opening. I remember with pleasure the chivalrous bearing of the troops on both sides in the frequent skirmishes between them, as well as the courtesy which prevailed in times of less excitement and activity. If this response of mine should not be full enough to meet your views, I will be pleased to hear from you again, and at some future period will endeavor to give more particulars.
I am, general, with great respect, your obliged and obedient servant,
ROBT. B. VANCE,
Brigadier-General, C. S. Army.
HDQRS. FIRST ARMY CORPS, ARMY OF THE POTOMAC.
Culpeper Court-House, March 24, 1864.
There is quite as much cavalry with the Department of the Ohio as can be kept equipped and fed, without the Second Ohio. I see, therefore, no objection to it being ordered to Annapolis.*
U. S. GRANT,
WAR DEPT. ADJT. GENERAL'S OFFICE. Numbers 127.
Washington, March 25, 1864.
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3. The telegram of March 23, 1864, from Headquarters of the Army, directing Major General P. H. Sheridan, to repair at once to Washington and report to the Adjutant-General of the Army is hereby confirmed.
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By order of the Secretary of War:
E. D. TOWNSEND,
*This in reply to Halleck, VOL. XXXII, Part III, p. 135.