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The following letter (refreshingly characteristic
of its brave, egotistic writer) reckons up the military in-
competencies of the campaign with much truth.  I supply
the names of the criticized generals.
  x Casey.    Heintzelman.    Keyes.    Smith.
     Kearney was killed at the battle of Chantilly, August 1862.

[newspaper clipping: first column]
A LETTER FROM GENERAL KEARNY.
		           
	        A Military Review.
		           
  Wilkes s Spirit of the Times of this week pub-
lished the following letter of Major-General Philip
Kearny to O. S. Halstead, Jr., of Newark, N. J.,
which has been made the subject of comment:
	 HARRISON S LANDING, 4th August, 1862
   DEAR PET I thank you for your kind, long
letter.  You extend to me hope.  You suggest
withdrawing me and my Division out of this
ignoble position.  With Pope s army, I would 
breathe again.
   We have no Generals.  McClellan is the fail-
ure I ever proclaimed him.  He has been punish-
ed, just as I at once comprehended the moves of
the parties.  He will only get us in more follies,
more waste of blood, fighting by driblets.
He has lost the confidence of all.  Nor
has he a single officer about him capable of bet-
tering us.  Sumner is a  bull in a china shop,  and
a sure enough blunderer. x       lost his corps
gratuitously at Fair Oaks.  He is not now in his
right place, and will be much worse.       is a
small brain, ossified in a  4 company  garrison on
the frontier.  He was not  of us  in Mexi-
co, but in a rear column once saw a distant
[unclear word] in a guerilla fight.  His skill is a 
myth, a poetical version of his own part
at Bull s Run.  Porter is good in nature, but weak
as water the apparent cant of all this disaster
for his want of generalship on the Chickahominy.
        and Franklin are talented engineers.  They
might make good generals if they understood the
value of elements in their calculations; as it is,
they are dangerous failures.
   When        was drunk, he had some few men
drowned before Yorktown.  I know of no other
feat of his.  Franklin s battle of West Point was
a most runaway picket fight of ours.  His part of
the Chickahominy was unpardonable.  He sent
over a division (his own), was present on that side
out of fire, and never interfered to prevent
them from being sacrificed by driblets,
and rendered a prey to their false posi-
tion.  I was horrified at it, as des-
cribed by General Taylor, and all others.  Is it
surprising that I want to get out of this mess?
Besides, they have sent me a Major-Generalship,
like all these others, dating from 4th July, mud-
died in a batch of new and very ordinary junior
officers.  Do they forget that I was appoint-
ed twelfth on the original list?  That
I, on the heels of Bull s Run, faced
the enemy with a Jersey Brigade in advance
of all others, McClellan, McDowell, et id omne
genus, nearly forcing me to come back of the
 Seminary.   Do they forget me at Manassas?
My Jersey Brigade that infected with panic the

[newspaper clipping: second column]
retiring enemy?  Has Williamsburg never come
to their ears?  Oh, no!  I really feel aggravated
beyond endurance.  Discipline becomes degrada-
tion if not wielded with justice.  Patriotism can-
not, amid all her sacrifices, claim that of self re-
spect.  Generals, victorious in the past, are not
called on to expose their troops, unless those
brave men are acknowledged.  Their identity
in their chief s promotion, claims a date of their
own high acts.  Oh no, I am nearer returning to
the home I have given up, to the interests I have
sacrificed, to my cherished wife, whose anxiety
oppresses me, than I ever dreamt of in a war for
the Union.  But if the infatuated North are weak
enough to let this crisis be managed by  small
men of small motives,  I am not willing to be 
their puppet.
   My dear Pet, I am too lazy, and too little in-
terested, to dive into the failure of this  little
box of heresies,  so do tell me what do the
people at the North look forward to in the future?
I fear lest the war will die out in vapid imbecility.
   For McClellan, he is burnt out.  Never once on
a battle field, you have nothing to hope from him
as a leader of a column.  How do they expect
Pope to beat, with a very inferior force, the
veterans of Ewell and Jackson?  But these
are episodes.  We deceive ourselves.  There
was a people of old it was the warrior
Spartan, with his Helot of the field.
The South have realized it.  There was
an ambitious people of recent times, and a 
conscription pandered to her invasions.  At this
moment the South exemplifies them both.
 Peace, peace,  but there is no peace.  No, not
even with a disruptured Union.  Let the north 
cast away that delusion.
   Draft we must, or the disciplined THOUSANDS
of the South will redeem scrip in Philadelphia, and
yet the true North must accept it, and quickly,
to a man, or the moment it draggles in debate,
Maryland, Tennessee and Kentucky will cast past
victories to the winds and rise with their nearly
allied rebel kin.  My dear Pet, I shall be de-
lighted with Henry can come on.  As to
Colonel Halstead, I think that his case is
a type of the insane and unnecessary despot-
ism introduced into the army, under the auspices
of McClellan and his very weak aids.  It is now
too late, but why was not the cavalry put in my
charge at the commencement?  Two nights ago
the rebel batteries fired from across the river, and
killed and wounded some thirty men.  Last night
Hooker started out on a crude expedition to
Malvern Hills.  He went out four miles and
came back again.  Still, a  false fuss  injures the
whole army.  McClellan is dangerous, from the
want of digesting his plans.  He positively has
no talents.  Adieu.  Get me and my  fighting di-
vision  with Pope.  With best regards, yours,
					 KEARNY.
   To Mr. O. S. Halstead, Jr., Newark, N. J. 
Page
Title:Thomas Butler Gunn Diaries, Volume Nineteen: page two hundred and fifty-six
Description:Newspaper clipping of letter from General Philip Kearny to O. S. Halstead, Jr., criticizing other generals.
Date:1862-08-04
Subject:Battle of Bull Run, First (Va.); Battle of Williamsburg (Va.); Casey, Silas; Civil War; Ewell, Richard Stoddert; Franklin, William Buel; Gunn, Thomas Butler; Halstead, O.S.; Heintzelman, Samuel Peter; Hooker, Joseph; Jackson, Stonewall; Kearny, Philip; Kearny, Philip, Mrs.; Keyes, Erasmus D.; McClellan, George B.; McDowell, Irvin; Military; Peninsular Campaign (Va.); Pope, John; Porter, Fitz-John; Smith, William F.; Sumner, Edwin V.
Scan Date:2010-06-17

 

Volume
Title:Thomas Butler Gunn Diaries, Volume Nineteen
Description:Includes Gunn's descriptions of his experiences as a war correspondent for ""The New York Tribune"" in Virginia while traveling with the Army of the Potomac during the Peninsular Campaign; the Siege of Yorktown; the Battle of Williamsburg; his departure from Alexandria on the steamer Kent; the ruins of Hampton, Virginia, after it was burnt by John B. Magruder; touring the gunboat Monitor; the death of Fitz James O'Brien from a gunshot wound; Jim Parton's temporary separation from Fanny Fern; and seeing Robert E. Lee's house in Virginia.
Subject:Civil War; Gunn, Thomas Butler; Journalism; Marches (U.S. Army); Marriage; Medical care (U.S. Army); Military; Military camp life; Peninsular Campaign (Va.); Prisoners of war (Confederate); Siege of Yorktown (Va.); Slavery; Slaves; Travel; Women
Coverage (City/State):New York, New York; Washington, District of Columbia; Alexandria, Virginia; Hampton, Virginia; Yorktown, Virginia; Williamsburg, Virginia
Note:Thomas Butler Gunn was born February 15, 1826, in Banbury, England, and came to New York in 1849. During the Civil War he worked as a correspondent for the New York Tribune and the New York Evening Post. He returned to England in 1863, and died in Birmingham in April 1903. The collection includes twenty-one volumes of his diaries, including newspaper clippings, letters, photographs, sketches, and various other items inserted by Gunn. Diary entries date from July 7, 1849, to April 7, 1863, and include his experiences with the New York publishing and literary world, his descriptions of boarding houses, his travels throughout the United States, and his experiences traveling with the Federal army as a Civil War correspondent.
Publisher:Missouri History Museum
Rights:Copyright 2010 Missouri History Museum.
Source:Page images, transcriptions, and metadata of the Thomas Butler Gunn diaries have been provided by the Missouri History Museum.