Thursday, August 2, 2012

August 3, 1862 (Monday): Charged with Cowardice

Martindale's Position at Malvern Hill

HEADQUARTERS FIFTH ARMY CORPS, Westover Landing, Va., August 3, 1862.
Brigadier General S. WILLIAMS,
Assistant Adjutant-General, Headquarters Army of the Potomac:
    GENERAL: I have the honor to request that Brigadier General John H. Martindale, commanding First Brigade, Morell's division, be relieved from duty with this army corps.
    On the morning of the 2nd July, immediately after the defeat of the rebel army and while our army was being withdrawn from Malvern Hill, Brigadier-General Martindale did propose to one or more officers of this command or in their hearing, and to one officer of influence and rank of his own brigade in a manner to influence his judgment, "to lay down their arms; surrender to the enemy while they could obtain terms."
Immediately after making this proposition General Martindale did leave his command and proceed to the rear, preceding by several hours his brigade to camp.
    These facts, which I am prepared to substantiate, have destroyed whatever of confidence, as a general and disciplinarian, I have had in him for the past two months, and I have reason to believe that of his brigade. If this application be granted, I desire General Martindale may be informed of the ground on which he is relieved.
    I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

Major-General, Commanding.

Official Records, Series I., Vol. 11, Part 3, Page 352.

Martindale was ultimately aquitted of the charges against him.  At the time charges were preferred he was suffering from typhoid fever.  He served at Military Governor of the District of Colbumia during most of 1863.  Later he commanded a division from Cold Harboro to Petersburg before resigning because of poor health in late 1864.  After the war he was a prominent attorney in New York City. 

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