Today in History:

945 Series I Volume XXXVI-II Serial 68 - Wilderness-Cold Harbor Part II


First. While he desires the administration of our arm to be integral, as provided for in Orders, No. 69, of June 4, 1863, and deprecates any clashing of authority between the chief of artillery and division commanders, he prefers not wholly to break off associations which have more or less obtained during the war between certain organizations of the infantry and artillery arms, because such associations are considered salutary. A wise regard to proprieties of intercourse between officers the general thinks may obviate all difficulties. He is not, therefore, in favor of an order suggested, declaring the non-existence of any relation between portions of the artillery and infantry divisions and their commanders. Orders, No. 69, as heretofore generally interpreted, he deems sufficient in connection with the judgment and good feeling of commanders and with remedial authority to be exercised, if need be, by corps commanders and by himself.

Second. He wishes me to secure from the corps two or three batteries, whose preferences he would not disregard, to serve with one of the divisions of cavalry. For one I have applied to General Alexander. Can you not spare one? If so, will you cause opportunity to be given for a volunteer engagement in that service? Perhaps one of the five batteries of Hardaway's battalion might do, or one of those might replace the battery from another battalion which should prefer the new sphere. Notoriety in this not wished yet.

Third. In this connection the general thinks it best to equalize batteries and battalions as nearly as may be without needless disturbance at present, batteries to be of four guns and battalions of four batteries. Even in a battalion of three batteries, like Colonel Nelson's, and where one of the companies is very large, the four-gun rule is deemed best; the surplus men to be armed with muskets, and used on occasions as guard, &c

Please let me hear from you on these points as soon as you can.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Brigadier-General, &c.

May 3, 1864.

Brigadier General E. P. ALEXANDER, Commanding Artillery, First Corps:

GENERAL: There are one or two points toward our organization in which your co-operation becomes important:

First. Will you aid me in ascertaining whether King's battalion cannot be gotten for your corps with advantage to the service. General Lee regards the proposal favorably, if the facts be as I stated to him. I had heard that there is besides that battalion a sufficient amount of artillery in that department. If you know the fact it may be well to send up an application for the battalion, accompanied by a statement of the case.

Second. The commanding general wishes me to detach two or three batteries from the corps for service with certain cavalry divisions, and I shall probably depend upon you for one or more, certainly two, I think, if you get King's. One of them he wishes to be from one of the Carolinas or from Georgia; and the preference of officers and men to be reasonably consulted. Please aid me in this matter. The general prefers it should not be made notorious yet.