<br /> Lee Letter: g081

Washington and Lee University

Sender: Robert E. Lee
Recipient: Jefferson Davis

Mr President

I very much regret that you should be required to investigate complaints from members of this army. The one from Col: O’Neal 26th Alaba – has been presented to me several times, & I think this is not the first occasion on which it has been brought to your attention. I have stated that I was aware of no injustice having been done Col: O’Neal that the recommendations for a commander to Rodes former brigade was made from military considerations, & that the action of the Dept. had conformed to my recommendations. I feel aggrieved at this repeated charge of injustice, & but that we are upon the eve of a campaign in which the presence & services of every one will be required, I should ask for a court of Inquiry into the matter. Should you think one can be instituted at this time without injury, I request it be ordered. Unless I have been entirely mistaken I think the facts will be found different from what Col O’Neal has supposed & have been stated. I Concur with the Honble Mr Phelan in the belief that Col: O’Neal is a most true brave & gallant officer. Still I believed that Cols: Gordon, Morgan & Battle gave promise of making better Brigade Commanders, & therefore recommended them before him. The regt: of Col: O’Neal by orders from the A & I Gen’s office 12 Feby. ’64 has been transferred from this army to that of Gen Polks, I am unable to compare his qualifications with those of the officers of the Alaba regts: mentioned by Mr Phelan, & therefore cannot say whether he is the best commander that can be selected for a brigade composed of those regts: If he is I should feel gratified at his promotion. I enclose copies of papers showing my action in reference to matters referred to in Col: O’Neals Complaint. I also return the papers transmitted by your Excy. I have the honour to be with great respect

Your most obt. servt

R. E. Lee Genl.

Notes:

W. J. De Renne CollectionWormsloe, Chatham County, Georgia (1914)

Printed in Douglas Southall Freeman, Lee’s Dispatches, Dispatch No. 81.