Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln. Volume 6.
Lincoln, Abraham, 1809-1865.

To William S. Rosecrans [1]

Executive Mansion, Washington,
My dear General Rosecrans August 31. 1863.

Yours of the 22nd. was received yesterday. When I wrote you before, I did [not] [2] intend, nor do I now, to engage in an argument with you on military questions. You had informed me you were impressed, through Gen. Halleck, that I was dissatisfied with you; and I could not bluntly deny that I was, without unjustly implicating him. I therefore concluded to tell you the plain truth, being satisfied the matter would thus appear much smaller than it would if seen by mere glimpses. I repeat that my appreciation of you has not abated. I can never forget, whilst I remember anything, that about the end of last year, and beginning of this, you gave us a hard earned victory which, had there been a defeat instead, the nation could scarcely have lived over. Neither can IPage  425 forget the check you so opportunely gave to a dangerous sentiment which was spreading in the North. Yours as ever



[1]   ADfS, DLC-RTL. On August 22, Rosecrans replied to Lincoln's communication of August 10, supra:

``Permit me to assure you that I am not and have not been touched with any of that official pride which desires to have its own way. It has been a principle and a characteristic of my life to take advice and learn both from superiors and inferiors. When great interests are confided to my care this principle becomes even more imperative.

``On the question of moving against Bragg every division and corps commander gave his written opinion adversely to an immediate or early move. . . .

``But I am sure when you consider we have but a single line of rail road from Louisville---that we are three hundred miles from that base that we have crossed by three days march the formidable barrier of the Cumberland mountains that we have in front a swift river from five to eight hundred yards wide and seventy miles of mountains in front of us to reach the fertile regions of northern Georgia you see that few armies have been called upon to attempt a more arduous campaign.

``Thanking you for your kindness may I ask you when impulsive men suppose me querrulous to believe I am only straight forward and in earnest and that you may always rely upon my using my utmost efforts to do what is best for our country and the lives and honor of the soldiers of my command, I remain very respectfully. . . .'' (DLC-RTL).

[2]   Bracketed insertion in the manuscript, but not in Lincoln's hand.