--Upon being relieved from his command, General Polk
issued the following address:
Headq'rs Polk's Corps, Tenn.,
Missionary Ridge, Sept. 30th, 1863.
To the Officers
and Soldiers of Polk
In consequence of an unfortunate disagreement between myself and the Commander-in-Chief
of this Department, I have been relieved of my command, and am about to retire from the army.
Without attempting to explain the circumstances of this disagreement, or prejudicing the public mind by a premature appeal to its judgment, I must be permitted to express my unqualified conviction of the rectitude of my conduct, and that time and investigation will amply vindicate my action on the field of Chickamauga
I cannot, however, part, even temporarily, with the gallant officers and soldiers of my old corps, without the deepest feeling of regret, and a heartfelt expression of my gratitude for the courage, conduct, and devotion they have always manifested while under my command.
, and Chickamauga
, all attest on your part the very highest soldierly qualities, and are crowded with precious memories.
Contending with a numerous, well appointed, and merciless enemy, for all that man holds dear, you have borne unexampled privations with fortitude, fought with undaunted bravery, and ever yielded a ready and cheerful obedience to your officers.
Soldiers who struggle in such a cause and with such hearts "can never be conquered. "Clouds and darkness may enshroud you for a time, but the sunlight of the future is bright and glowing; the blood of patriots is never shed in vain, and our final victory is certain and assured.
Whoever commands you, my earnest exhortation and request to you is, to fight on and fight ever, with true hearts, until your independence is achieved.
Thousands of hearts may fall crushed and bleeding under the weapons of the foe, or the passions or mistakes of friends, but the great cause must never be sacrificed, or our flag abandoned.--Our cause is just, and your duty to your country and God is as clear as the sun in the heavens.
I leave my command in the care of the bravest of the brave, who has often led them in the darkest hour of their trials; he and you will have my hopes and prayers to the Ruler of the Universe for your happiness and success.
Your kindness, devotion, and respect for me, exhibited during the years of our association, both in camp and on the field, is graven on my heart, and will be treasured there until it ceases to beat.
(Signed,) L. Polk