Sunday, March 3, 2013

March 3, 1863 (Thursday): Naglee's Discontent

General Henry Morris Naglee

SAINT HELENA, March 3, 1863.
[Major-General FOSTER:]
   MY DEAR GENERAL: The within accompanying are sent confidentially, and with the purpose of informing you off all of the fact, which with the orders, indorsement, protest, &c., will advise you that the detachment organization is ordered to be broken up and the within relieved of the command of it and placed in charge of a division.* This is directly in disobedience of the positive orders of the 15th and 16th ultimo.
Captain [Hook?], of the regular battery, has been ordered by General Hunter to Key West, and his company has been ordered to join the rest of the regiments of the Fort Artillery at Beaufort.
    We were all in hopes after the orders from Washington that concord would again prevail, but alas, all feel pained at the course now pursued in this most embarrassing contest. I have done all to place the subject in its proper light, and whilst I have tried to avoid unnecessary collision I have allowed no indignity to go unnoticed. Our people have all suffered from the efforts of this most unfortunate, unmeaning trouble, which could result in no possible good, and result in confusion, if not worse.
    I have no knowledge of the plan of attack; not one word has been asked or uttered upon the subject.
Expect to see me after the problem is solved, and this will be the exception if the truth does not yet prevail.
My kindest regards to all, Mrs. F. and the disaffected. You will now understand the object of their being sent away, for otherwise the command could not have been so easily broken up, and the moment I attempt to supply their places by acting appointments he rescinded my orders (see his Special, 116, and letter without date), and order that there should not be a separate corps organization in his department, forgetting that during the time he had us absorbed in the Tenth that Halpine hinted to [George H.] Johnston, my assistant adjutant-general, that a provisional corps organization with myself as commander would be organized if I desired it.
    All of our time is taken up in the changes of detail, and the preparations for so important an issue are utterly impossible, independent of the fact that these latter have been now assumed entirely by General Seymour, of which we are entirely ignorant.
     Your anticipations in regard to the latter seems to have been well founded. I will add no more. Do write, that I may know what is going on, and address me under cover of the admiral.

     Sincerely, yours,

*Not found.

Official Records, Series I., Vol. 14, Part 1, Page 419.

Naglee was not long his command.  David Hunter was in overall charge of operations on the South Carolina coast and he was a favor of the radical Republicans.  He believed Naglee was insubordinate and would soon have him removed.  Foster, who Naglee writes to here, was better situated by virtue of a solid reputation in the Army before the war.  Hunter was a man of decided views, and his name was a curse on the lips of Confederates from the time of his freeing of slaves in the South Carolina low country (overturned by Lincoln) to his arsons in the Shenandoah Valley.  After the war Naglee, a banker before the war, went into agriculture in San Jose and produced what many people believe was the finest brandy in the world.  The last known bottle was auctioned off in 1944.  Naglee was also a bit of a scoundrel.  One of his lovers took revenge by publishing a book of his letters to her from the war time period.  Another, the nanny to his young children after his wife's death, sued him for breach of promise after he seduced her.

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