Headquarters near Centreville, Jan. 23d, 1862.My dear Colonel,—I need not assure you that I am deeply gratified by the mark of consideration conferred by the gentlemen of Congress in the request of which you have been the agreeable bearer; a request made, as you advise me, with the sanction of his Excellency the President, who has been pleased to express the desire that my own wishes should be consulted before any assignment to command should be made which shall separate me from the Army of the Potomac. I am a soldier of the cause and of my country, ready, at this juncture and during this war, to do duty cheerfully wheresoever placed by the constituted authorities; but I must admit that I would be most reluctant to disassociate my fortunes from those of this army, and unwilling to be permanently separated from men to whose strong personal attachment for and confidence in me I shall not affect blindness. In view, however, of the season, and of the bad condition of the country for military operations, I should be happy to be used elsewhere. if my services are considered at all necessary for the public good, whether on the Mississippi or at any other threatened point of the Confederate States. But, should it be determined to employ me at Columbus, as you have given me to understand is the wish of the President and Congress, I hope it will be regarded as entirely within my province to be anxiously heedful of the means of men and material to be placed at my disposition. In this connection I should be particularly anxious to secure all possible assistance, and should desire to take with me certain officers of my command, not indispensable to this army, in addition to my present general and personal staff, to aid me in the organization of the forces which may be intrusted to me. But, even with their assistance, time may be required to attain that degree of organization and discipline so essential to military success. I repeat, however, that I am entirely at the service of the country. Yours very truly, Mississippi Valley, it would be advisable, I think, to request the newspapers not to publish it at present, for obvious reasons.
Petersburg, August 15th, 1864.General,—In answer to your note of yesterday, I have the honor to submit the following statement: Some time in the winter of 1862, it was represented, at a meeting of the Military Committee of the Provisional Congress, that the aspect of affairs in Kentucky and Tennessee was discouraging to our cause, and that your presence in that quarter was extremely desirable, as well by reason of the confidence with which the circumstance would inspire the public, as the efficiency which it would probably impart to the operations of our forces on that theatre. Yielding to these suggestions, the committee unanimously agreed that an effort should be made to procure your transfer to the Army of the West. To that