NOTE:--General Smith never submitted his case to the arbitration offered. The whole will be made clear by the publication of the official records, which are already in print, though not yet issued. His orders were in writing, and I have no recollection of the "peremptory" verbal orders to which he refers, and quotes as from me.
ST. Louis, Missouri, 1895. W. T. S.
MAYWOOD, ILLINOIS, July 14, 1875.
General W. T. SHERMAN, Commander-in-Chief, etc.
DEAR GENERAL : Your letter of the 11th of July reaches me just as I am starting to spend the first vacation I have ever allowed myself- -in the Territories, with my wife and son.
It indicates a spirit of fairness from which we have better things than an arbitration to hope for. Though, if we should reach such a necessity, there is no one living to whom our differences might more properly be referred than to General Webster. I make no objection to your writing your "Memoirs," and, as long as they refer to your own conduct, you are at liberty to write them as you like; but, when they refer to mine, and deal unjustly with my reputation, I, of right, object.
Neither do I wish to write my "Memoirs," unless compelled to do so to vindicate my good name. There were certain commands which were to make up mine. These, Waring's brigade included, were spoken of by us in the long conversation to which you refer. This brigade we knew was having a hard time of it in its movement from Columbus to Memphis. I asked you if I should move without it if it did not arrive, and you answered me as stated in my last letter to you. Those who immediately surrounded me during the painful delay that occurred will inform you how sorely I chafed under the restraint of that peremptory order.
In the conversation that occurred between us at Nashville, while all the orders, written and verbal, were still fresh in your memory, you did not censure me for waiting for Waring, but for allowing myself to be encumbered with fugitive negroes to such an extent that my command was measurably unfit for active movement or easy handling, and for turning bank from West Point, instead of pressing on toward Meridian. Invitations had been industriously circulated, by printed circulars and otherwise, to the negroes to come into our lines, and to seek our protection wherever they could find it, and I considered ourselves pledged to receive and protect them. Your censure for so doing, and your remarks on that subject to me in Nashville, are still fresh in my memory, and of a character which you would now doubtless gladly disavow.