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[171] him the acceptance of his resignation, and the removal of the Secretary of War and yourself The President, however, refused to entertain the suggestion, and the next interview which General Burnside ad with him was in the presence of the Secretary of War and yourself. Between the first and second interviews he had reduced to writing the proposition which he had made in the first interview, and he read to the President a letter to him in which he tendered his own resignation, and proposed the vacation of the Secretary of War's and your positions, for the reason that all three of you had lost the confidence of the people. This is the substance of the story as I heard it from him just after his return to camp. On one occasion, just before his last attempt to cross the Rappahannock, I was in his tent with Generals Smith, Woodbury, Hunt, and Captain Comstock, corps of engineers, when I said to him, in substance, “you yourself recommended to the President the removal of the Secretary of War and Genenal Halleck.” He did not deny it; in fact he acknowledged that he had so recommended.

There is nothing in my pamphlet, nor have I said anything which will justify the assertion, that I “think that General Burnside's letter to me” (you) “was drawn out of him” for any purpose. On the contrary I know that before he wrote it, he expressed his intention of writing it to several persons, myself among the number, and the reason he gave for this intention was, that he might disabuse the minds of the people as to who was responsible for the battle of Fredericksburg. He intended the letter for publication, I know, and was excited to write it by the newspaper articles, which threw the blame upon the administration. I never had, nor ever expressed, an idea that the letter in question was drawn out of General Burnside by any person, or for any purpose, but have always known that the dictates of his own mind led him to write it.

I do not think that I have ever asserted, or ever thought that you had seen Order No. 8. I have, looked over my pamphlet carefully, and find no sentence which will bear the construction that I thought you had seen it. I received all of the information in my possession concerning it from officers who saw it in General Hooker's hands, and the names in the pretended order, as published, agree in all respects with those reported to me as present in General Hooker's copy. The pamphlet was, however, written before the publication of the order in the Herald.

It was not my intention in my pamphlet to refer to any persons except the Committee on the Conduct of the War and General Burnside. I am sorry that my confidence in General Burnside's honesty led me to assert that he had requested the removal of the Secretary of War and yourself, and I can only account for his numerous mistakes by the hypothesis that he is crazy.

Very respectfully,

Your obedient servant,

General Halleck to General Franklin.

Headquarters of the army, Washington, May 29, 1863.
[Private and personal.]

Major-General Franklin, York, Penn.:

General: Your letter of the twenty-seventh is received, and I thank you for your frank reply to my inquiry.

Immediately on receiving your pamphlet, I addressed a note to General Burnside, calling his attention to what you had stated in regard to his having formally and earnestly requested my removal, and as he has not denied its correctness, I presume he admits it.

There is one singular statement in your letter, in regard to the embodying of General Burnside's recommendation for our removal m his letter of resignation, and reading it to the President in the presence of the Secretary and myself. There is not a word of truth in this, so far as I am concerned. The only letter of resignation of General Burnside which I ever saw or heard of, made no allusion whatever to either of us.

The reason of my alluding to Order No. 8 was, that you say the President “declined to decide, without consulting some of his advisers.” The public would presume, perhaps, that I was one of these advisers, I merely wished to undeceive you on that point. The facts are these: General Burnside had had an interview with the President in the night, or very early in the morning. I was sent for while at breakfast. When I arrived at the President's room, he informed the Secretary and myself that General Burnside had proposed the dismissal and relieving of several high officers, and if his order were not approved he wished to resign. The President announced his decision to relieve General Burnside, and put General Hooker in command. He asked no opinion or advice, either from the Secretary or myself, and none whatever was offered by either of us. General Burnside afterwards came in, and the matter of accepting his resignation was discussed. I strongly urged him to withdraw it, which he finally consented to do.

The removal of General Burnside, and appointment of General Hooker, was the sole act of the President. My advice was not asked at all in the matter, and I gave no opinion whatever.

I have never doubted the honesty and integrity of purpose of General Burnside, but in his various statements he has certainly committed some most singular errors, and in none more so than in regard to the “Pontoons,” upon which the public press got up such a furor against me. I had the means at the time of disproving most of his statements, but declined to use them, preferring, as in the case of the battle of Fredericksburg, to remain silent. By publicly denying one false charge, it would be inferred that those undenied were true. Moreover, when holding a command, I never enter into newspaper discussions.

Nevertheless, I think it due to history that officers should, among themselves, seek to reconcile and explain conflicting statements. It was simply with this object in view that I wrote to yourself and General Burnside, and I thank you for answering me so promptly and kindly. I only regret that General Burnside has not done the same.

Very respectfully,

Your obedient servant,

Gen. W. F. Smith to Gen. Franklin.

New York, May 29, 1863.
dear Franklin: Burnside referred to the matter of his letter to the President, asking that Stanton, Halleck, and himself should vacate their places, several times in my presence; but the first time in such detail that no new points were afterwards developed. He said he had had a long conversation with the President, which resulted in his going back to the hotel, and writing this letter, which he sent. In the letter he said he was sure Stanton and Halleck had not the confidence of the country, but of that the President could judge for himself; but he could assert positively that they had not the confidence of the army, and therefore suggested that the three should resign. The President said he could not think of accepting his resignation, and asked him if he had any objections to going to the others interested and making the statements in their presence. Burnside said no, certainly not, and they went to the War Department, saw the Secretary and General-in-Chief, and in their presence he reiterated his remarks about want of confidence; that neither of them said a word with reference to the matter, and the conversation after that was an attempt to get orders to cross the river, or orders not to cross the river. Burnside also made in Washington, and at the time, the same statement to Mr. John Tucker, then Assistant Secretary of War, and I certainly placed implicit confidence in his story. You are entirely at liberty to make any use of this letter.

Yours, as ever,

This letter was transmitted by General Franklin to General Halleck, with a letter of transmittal merely.

General Halleck to General Franklin.

[Personal and private.]

General: Yours of the third instant, enclosing a copy of General Smith's letter of May twenty-ninth is received. No such conversation as that mentioned by General Smith, nor any in the slightest degree resembling it, ever took place between General Burnside, the President, Mr. Stanton, and myself. What General Burnside may have said to the President or Secretary of War about me, in my absence, I, of course, do not know; but I have assurances that he never suggested my removal to either.

I have no desire to push this inquiry any farther, being satisfied that General Burnside's memory was, at least at that time, unreliable.

Very respectfully,

Gen. W. T. H. Brooks to Gen. Franklin.

Indianapolis, June 2, 1863.
dear Franklin: I received your letter of the twenty ninth ult. yesterday. I was very sorry not to meet you.

I spoke to the Secretary about Burnside having stated that he had told the President he ought to remove himself

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