Wednesday, April 17, 2013

April 17, 1863 (Saturday): A General Bids His Men Goodbye

Major-General Dabney H. Maury

CIRCULAR.] VICKSBURG, April 17, 1863. 

I have been ordered to the Department of Tennessee. My division does not go with me. This separation gives me very great pain, and I believe it is a cause of regret to you. Since I have been your commander we have together passed through some of the severest trials of this war. I remember with admiration the fortitude, fidelity, and courage which you have evinced in them, and the cheerful alacrity with which you have always obeyed my orders and discharged your duties. I remember, too, that in all our intercourse I have never received an unkind word or look from any one of you, and I shall always retain the pleasantest recollections of my personal relations with you. If I have gained any honor or credit as a commander it is to you I owe it, and if I carry with me your confidence and esteem it is my best reward for the efforts I have made to maintain the discipline and efficiency of the division. I part from you with sincere regret, and I beg that you will always remember me as your friend.


(To the officers and men of Maury's division.)

Official Records, Series I., Vol. 52, Part 2, Page 457.

The nephew of renowned hydrographer and naval commander Matthew Fontaine Maury, Maury had commanded a number of units in the western theater.  Here he bids adieu to the men of his division.  The connection between commanders and their troops was often deeply felt on both sides.  Maury was a man of great principle.  After the war he turned down $30,000 a year (a huge sum in those days) to be a supervisor of the Louisiana Lottery.  He also worked  as a volunteer nurse in a New Orleans yellow-fever epidemic even though his own business barely provided for him.  He worked for the Southern Historical Society for 20 years.

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