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Regiment: 4th Michigan Calvary Battles Mentioned: Chickamauga, Georgia Historical Figures: Alexander M. McCook, David S. Stanley, George Crook, George Stoneman, George Thomas, Giles A. Smith, Gordon Granger, John A. Logan, John E. Smith, John M. Palmer, Kenner Garrard, Morgan L. Smith, Robert H. Minty, Thomas L. Crittenden, Ulysses S. Grant, William S. Rosecrans, William T. Sherman
Head-Quarters 1st Brig., 2d Cavalry Division, Huntsville Ala March 8 1864 My dear Davidson I have to-day sent to Mrs Iswon a dragt on you for $115 10/x which please pay, and enter on the credit side of your ledger. It is the balance of A’s money which I held in my hands. Since writing the above the mail has come in, and brought yours of 25th ult. From it I learn that you are spend- ing this day in Lansing, and are probably now fixing the time when you are to be entirely blest. What cartler in the air you are building. I hope every one of them may have a firm foundation, and last you for the remainder of your life. I shall do what I can to get to Michigan to be pre- sent upon the occasion, but I have not the slightest idea I shall succeed. It will be almost an impossibility to obtain a leave of ab- sence after the campaign opens. When that will be, I cannot say. Our cavalry here can do nothing yet, it being scattered broadcast through the Land of Dixie. Only one of our regiments, the 4th Regulars, went upon the Sher- man expedition, and I see that they have been badly whipped and driven back to Memphis. When we left here last Dec and went as far as Pulaski, we had then started upon the expedition, but for some cause known to Genl Smith, Grant’s Chief of Cavalry, the 4th W.S. were the only ones taken, I see that Genl S. is now in Nashville, and we think he is there to give the whys and wherefores for his not joining Sherman as ordered. He may have presumed a little too much upon his rank. and standing with Genl G. The Cavalry of the Army of the Cumberland are terribly down on him for the manner he has been ordering them about, and it is whispered that Genl Thomas has taken the matter in hand and is to look into the business. Genl S. is supposed to have very much exceeded his powers when he intr- fered with the “Cumberland” cavalry, without consulting with Genl Thomas. If he has been degeated and driven back “off goes his head, So much for s-m-i-t-h” Col Minty has probably been honerable acquit ted though the sentence finding has not yet been pub- lished. No one, but the court knows what it is, until printed. I had a letter from the Col a day or two ago, and he knew nothing about it. The publication in the Michigan paper was premature, or was founded upon a supposition. He will probably come here and command this Brigade again in a short time. I look for him every day. Our regiment is full again; and the Col writes has 20 more men than the law allows. They will soon fall off however I am to be made Captain of Co F. Having Lawton in command of Co. C. He has become responsible for all the Co C property, and has asked me to allow him to remain with the Co. It is a great accommodation to him and will probably make no difference to me as I shall, I think, remain here. It is proposed to make me Provost Marshal on Genl Garrard’s staff. but I do not want to go until I see Col Minty. A new A.A.G. has been assigned to this Division, and there is no vacancy, except the one I am filling. You know I am only “acting” If Col Minty strongly objects to the new man Genl Ganard will try and get line showed off somewhere else. If it cannot be done otherwise I think I shall go with Genl G. He is a very plea- sant man and now commands the 2d Cav- alry Division. You are aware that Genl Crook was some time ago ordered to Western Virginia. It is thought that the Cavalry of the Cumberland will soon be re-organized and Genl Stanley placed again in command. I hope it may be so. It has amounted to nothing since he left us. After the battle of Chickamauga he was assigned to a Division of the 4th Army Corps under Genl Granger. All this may be uninteresting to you. Possibly I am talking “shop.” However you asked me in a late letter whether we had an Army of the Cunm- berland, and I think this a good opportunity of telling. It is commanded by Thomas and now consists of the 4th Corps commanded by Gran- ger and the 14th by Palmer. McCook and Crittenden’s old corps, the 20th and 21st were consolidated and form the 4th Our little squad here are all surrounded by the 15th Corps under Genl Logan. We are away off to the West of our own army, and are crowding on to the tramping grounds of that of the Tennessee or Sherman’s. While writing the last sentence a batch of Genl Orders was brought in and a- mong them the enclosed No 36 which you see honorably acquits Col Minty. He will probably be here now in a day or two. I wish you would have a copy of this order published in the Kalamazoo paper, together with a little sketch of the care as you understand it. Just give him a little puff and send me a copy of the paper. By the way I have received several copies of the N.Y. Times one to-day, and am obliged to you for them. Mails come pretty reg- ularly now as the Yankee Vandals have repaired the rail-road and have the cars running to this place. Who do you think arrived here yesterday? Peter M. Dox and spouse. I have not seen them yet. Am going to call on them with Mr. White a cousin of hers at whose house I am so- journing. I am glad you have got the “[ ? ] &c” The author is getting out another edition which will include the doings of the Army up to the re- moval of Rosecrans after the battle of Chick- amauga. Our command is going to have fur- ther good mention in it. What you can see in the portrait of Col. Long that resembles me, is more than I can imagine. You how- ever have a knack at tracing resemblances as I remember when I was in Kalamazoo last spring you thought a picture of Genl Stone- man in Harper’s Weekly might pass for mine. I have always had the idea that I looked like a great man, but was under the impress- ion that the world “couldn’t see it” When in Nashville we were called upon for our por- traits by some long haired gentlemen of the brush, who are about to get up illustrations of the war and who wanted to paint two pictures of the exploits of the 1st Brigade We gratified them and you will probably some day see your brother’s image on a dash- ing horse riding full till into the rebels Keep a good look out for all the pan- oramar because it may appear in shows of that kind. I drew sketches for them of our Shelbyville and Chickamauga fights and have no doubt that they will fill in the back ground with plenty of blood and thunder Vive la Vagatelle. I enclose an invitation to a Feb’y 22 Ball. The room was full of officers; and seven ladies graced the fete with their presence and I believe they were officers wives. None of the fair cit- oyennes would go. They are yet too secesh for that. It is humbug to talk about the latent Unionism in the South. I have not seem a bit of it, except in East Tennessee, and that among the very poorest classes of the in- habitants there. The Capt. M. Rochester on the card is the Mont Rochester who used to come and visit us at College. Charly Mont- gomery’s friend and cousin. He is A.A.Q. for a Genl Smith here. Even in this little town we have three Genl Smith’s. Giles, John E. and Morgan L. I do not know why my letters do not reach Mother. I have written two directed to 304 Cumb St. I wrote Addie Squires a fortnight ago. Maybe that has gone astray too. Mother may get them as you did yours of Nov 23d I have had one letter from Willy since his marriage. I did not know until you wrote me that he was with Sherman. The news from the expedition lately has not been very favorable. There are rumors in the air of his being repulsed. I hope they may be untrue. I feel anxious about Willy. We must wish that be may come out unharmed. I have not been troubled with my old complaint since last June. and am now perfectly and permanently recovered. I never was bet- ter but am sorry to say that I am getting decidedly gray. I have given up in dispair the pulling out of white hairs. They are even encroach- ing on my beard. I begin to fear that my mat- rimonial market is closed. Well no matter! I can come and live with you, unless I should settle (or get settled) down here. Love to Madge when you write. Let me hear from you soon again. Good night and good bye Your affec brother Robert J. Davidson Burns Esq Kalamazoo Mich [On Envelope:] March 17, 1864 J. Davidson Burns Esq Kalamazoo Michigan March 8.