with General Hunter. It was understood that General Phil. Sheridan was to be assigned to the command of the troops in the departments of Washington, Susquehanna and West Virginia, and an official order to that effect was promulgated a few days after. The troops were immediately returned to their positions at Bolivar Heights and Halltown. On the last day of August General Hunter, at his own oft-repeated request, was officially relieved of command in West Virginia. At the same time, worn out with fatigue and exposure, I resigned my commission in the volunteer service, and about the first of September received an honorable discharge from the department commander. I have thus given a brief sketch of military movements and events participated in by the Army of West Virginia while under your command, from the twenty-first day of May, 1864, to the ninth of August. I have always considered the movement on Lynchburg as one of the boldest and best-conducted campaigns of the war; that the motives which dictated it fully justified the hazard incurred, and that the results obtained by very inadequate forces have been fully acknowledged by those who best understood their real value. Lieutenant-General Grant handsomely acknowledges that “all had been accomplished that was possible under the circumstances, and more than could have been hoped for.” Jefferson Davis, in his speech to the people of Georgia, after the fall of Atlanta, informed them that “an audacious movement of the enemy up to the very walls of Lynchburg had rendered it necessary that the government should send a formidable body of troops to cover that vital point, which had otherwise been intended for the relief of Atlanta.” The vital importance of Lynchburg as a reserve depot and proposed place of retreat, in cage of the abandonment of Richmond, was fully appreciated by the rebel authorities; by the United States it was either not fully understood, or the approach deemed too hazardous. When the enemy saw, therefore, their fatal weakness was discovered, and the approaches already reconnoitred, he was obliged to despatch a force to protect it at all hazards; nearly one third of the flower of Lee's army, under Early, was detached for this purpose. Thus the great result was accomplished. Atlanta, unrelieved, fell before the conquering arms of Sherman. Lee's army, thus enfeebled, remained imprisoned in Richmond, and was never afterward able to hazard an active demonstration. Early's presence in the valley of the Shenandoah convinced the government of the United States of the only effectual policy to be pursued in that quarter. He was confronted by a superior army, attacked and annihilated. The subsequent movements of Generals Grant and Sherman brought the war to a full and fortunate conclusion. While rejoicing in the honors accorded to those great soldiers, whose fortune it has been to gather in the glorious harvest, I still feel it my duty to claim a modest wreath for that gallant Army of West Virginia, which through so much toil, danger and suffering, assisted in preparing the field for the reapers. I am, General, with high respect, your obedient servant,
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Table of Contents:
Doc . 16 . operations in Tennessee .
Doc . 19 . the siege of Suffolk, Virginia .
Doc . 36 . General Rousseau 's expedition.
Doc . 59 . battles of Spottsylvania , Va: battle of Sunday , May 8 , 1864 .
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