Today in History:

493 Series I Volume XX-II Serial 30 - Murfreesborough Part II


this army could not be maintained here with its main depot and base operations under the control of a subordinate commander, whose staff officers were unceasingly interfering with my orders, and diverting supplies of vital importance. So well was General Smith impressed with the same conviction when in Murfreesborough with me, that he promised to apply to the President to detach that portion of his terri tory from his command and assign it to me.

When in Richmond last October, I called on the Department to give me some base of operations and connecting line of communication be tween my army in Middle Tennessee and that part of my command in South Alabama. The President assured me it was never intended to change me original department, which was bounded by the line of railroad from Cleveland, Tenn., to Atlanta, Ga. Think, then, of my embarrassments and disappointment upon receiving the written orders to General Smith declaring Chattanooga in his department, and my exercise of authority there an assumption. It was to avoid this very evil, general, that induced me in Richmond to ask of the Department, in with plenary powers. It was then refused, and I was assured the orders about to be issued would remove all difficulties and satisfy every desire. I left, and at Knoxville received the orders which only tended to complicate matters still further. After consultation, I sent General Polk on, to renew my remonstrance, and again appeal for your assign ment. The order to you followed, and I hoped the power with it to correct the evil, but I find no change in my command, and that I cannot subsist my army surrounded by such drawbacks.

For this state of affairs in Richmond, general, I do not, and cannot, blame you; upon the contrary, I am grateful for the support, personal and official, you have given me. But it will occur to any military mind that this army and its depot at Chattanooga must be under one commander. I learn that General Smith has been called to Richmond, probably with the view of giving him both. I shall be content. When ever and whenever and wherever I am in the way of a better man, let me be put aside. I only ask to serve the cause where I cad do it most good, even should that be in the ranks. The unfortunate withdrawal of my troops, when they were not absolutely necessary elsewhere, has saved Rosecrans from destruction. Five thousand fresh troops, as a reserve on the first day's battle, would have finished the glorious work. I told the President Grant's campaign would be broken up by our cavalry expeditions in his rear before Stevenson's command could meet him in front, but he was inexorable, and reduced me to the defensive, or, as he expressed it, " Fight if you can, and fall back beyond the Tennessee." I have now, besides my cavalry, but 20,000 effective infantry and 1,500 artillery. My losses, from killed, wounded, missing, and sickness from a week's exposure under arms day and night in the cold rains of winter, will not fall far short of 12,000. To have remained

longer at Murfreesborough, after knowing the enemy was being largely re-enforced from Kentucky, if he advances, and harass him daily if he does not.

I shall be pleased to hear from you on this and all other subject, and assure you of a cordial support in any measure you propose.

Most respectfully and truly, yours, &c.,


General, Commanding.

P. S.-From official returns captured on the field, it is certain the enemy's force was over 70,000. My infantry and artillery was not 31,000