3 February 1864: “You will consider yourself under arrest …”

Item description: Letter, dated 3 February 1864, from General Longstreet’s Eastern Tennessee Headquarters to General Lafayette McLaws, relieving him of his command and placing him under arrest.  These actions preceded McLaws’ court-martial (and eventual exoneration) for failure to cooperate with General Longstreet during the Knoxville Campaign of late 1863.  Beneath the order, McLaws details his actions following its receipt.

[transcription available below images]

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Item Citation: From folder 10 in the Lafayette McLaws Papers, #472, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Item Transcription:

Head Quarters Dept E. T.

Morristown Tenn Feby. 3. 1864


You will consider yourself under arrest, and will confine yourself to Russelville, E.T.

By Order of Lt. Gen. Longstreet

[G. M. Sorrel?]

a. a. Genl.


Maj. Gen. Lafayette McLaws


General Longstreet relieves me from command of my Division, without giving a reason; [?] leaving it to be inferred that it was for a cause which it would be detrimental to the public interest to disclose.  I requested that he give me a reason for this arbitrary [conduct?] He then wrote that the [?] the campaign “I had failed to coincide with his [?] & plans, and a [?] at my influence would extend to the troops under me, he thought I lent that I should go, as he could not”.  I was then ordered to Augusta, direct.  I went & from there protested against the order, requesting that if I had done anything I be [? ?] it, specifically tried for it, I was [surtan?] it always was preferred .  I suppose they were preposed by Genl Jenkins, who was an applicant for my place, & by Gen. Longstreet’s staff.  Gen. Longstreet’s own testimony was the strongest given in my favor, & it is there to be presumed he had been not as [?] by [Backam] Jenkins & co. & did not understand the charges. Sec. War [?] in which full report of this is given.

L. MLaws

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2 Responses to 3 February 1864: “You will consider yourself under arrest …”

  1. Liz Bezera says:

    ummm, this is February, not January.