Henry J. Hunt Papers, Box 4 "General Correspondence 1886 April-May"


Soldiers House Washington DC
April 12, 1888
Dear Col Gantt,

Yours of the 9° came last evening. Pleasanton's bill had been for some time on the calendar, and reached in regular course. I am glad it has passed the House for he is sorely in need of it, and I hope that the majority by which it passed may be good evidence as to the liberal spirit of the House. The precedent is rather a bad one however, but as to precedent there is plenty of it already. Many officers 'out of service' some(?) I believe who were(?) denied(?) ? have been placed on the retired list before. Averells case is the next on the calendar. There is some equity in that, A ? ?, had been badly treated it is said, and as I believe. A little while after he resigned, a bill was passed which had he been still in service would have admitted him to the list.

As to my bill, it is in a very doubtful condition. I went to the committee room on some House business last Saturday and was introduced for the first time to the Chairman Mr. Townsend of Illinois. It was not a committee day, but two or three members were there - He congratulated me on the fact that the Committee had directed a favorable


report of my bill. I asked, more for form than anything else - if there was any change in it. I feared they might have refused to let it go back to date of retirement, which meant a cut off of $10,000= He said yes it (The following was crossed out in the original text: had been) was for the rank of brigadier. I bowed and he passed in and I went at my work. Not long after Gen. J. H. Wilson spoke to me. He was just going out with Mr. Townsend, and he congratulated me. I said, "unfortunately I can't accept it if passed". He asked "Why?" in surprise. I said, It measures not only my own service, but the standing of my arm, the artillery. I was, as you know, the only Corps Comdr(sic) in the war who was not made a Major General when he received his Corps if not already one - it was an insidious distinction, but so far as it affected me personally I might have waived that if disposed(?), but in my representative capacity I have no such option. This bill (illegible word crossed out in original text) giving the rank of brigadier to the commander of an artillery corps when that of Major General was given to every infantry and cavalry corps - Warren at Chancellorsville and Gettysburg was Chief of Engineers. I was Chief of Arty(sic) at the same places


at Fredericksburg and Antietam before, and at all the other battles of the A.P. afterwards down to Appomattox. Immediately after Gettysburg, Warren was made Major General, and given an infantry corps. His commission was dated from Chancellorsville and was for Engineer service - I remained a brigadier to the end of the war. I won't compare my services with Warren's but the record is a slur on the Artillery and on me as it stands, is on both. (The following was crossed out in the original text: Passing(?) my own part of it, I) "Oh that was not intended" said Mr. Townsend. I believe not, I replied, but so the record stands and it will surely be so cited to the prejudice of the arm and its commanders in the future. I cannot in my person, by accepting, acquiesce in its justice. The artillery will look to me to maintain its (The following was crossed out in the original text: standing) cause and I can't evade the responsibility - it touches the point of honor. "The facts are as you state," said Wilson, (i.e. that I was confined to the Artillery. He was an Engineer officer and was given a Corps of Cavalry & Major Genls(sic) commission). It was always said of an artillery commander "He can't be spared from his own arm, even(?) so he lost his promotion."

And so they went their ways, soon after my man Laird came in. He said "I don’t mean to submit to this


without another fight with the committee, and it was(?) partly my fault," so he is girding or has girded up his loins, asked for my Mexican War record, has got it, and now I must wait and see, with what patience I can. My bill is before the Senate committee also - Copy of the House bill - Gen Hawley(?) has charge of it. I told Laird if the H(sic) committee did not (The following was crossed out in the original text: accept) approve the bill or it stands to withdraw it, so it wouldn't 'antagonize'(?) the Senate bill, but I wouldn't accept the brigadiership from either. Now being a trick(?) on that point I will only say that I suppose my Kismet will condemn me - or as others would say, myself among them my luck, for I am superstitious.

But look at these fellows, Fitz John Porters bill was "unconstitutional" - no such bill with a name in it is constitutional, so in the last Congress but one they voted down Grants bill which had passed the Senate. Now they have passed young Jouetts of the Navy and Pleasanton's, name, office-appointment, and all! I will let you know when I hear any thing(sic) new of it, but I expect no letter thus I regret almost that I allowed the bill to be presented again. I am too old to be worried, and har-


assed, á l'autre coté, I will have the satisfaction of feeling that I have done "my level best" to get justice for myself and family. It is only as it affects the latter that I care about it.

Your other letter of 4-6 came on the 8° - four days ago. On the 9° I went to town, and for the first time since December saw Gen Jo. Johnston - I had called to see him several times but missed him. He like(?) myself is glad of the prospect of you arriving soon, but we agree that we don't want you to make too large a sacrifice in your ?. I hope that nibble, turned out to be a good bite and that you will land your fish.

I have read the book on the Turkish Bath and Cutler has read parts of it. He needs no coaxing, he is not only baptised in the faith but 'confirmed'. Your lumbago(?) ? ? have had no such temptations to put on lighter clothing. It has been cool all the time, and Gen Jo(sic) says that when the warm weather does come, it will be here to stay. It is cool and blustery now, the weather says it will be cooler tomorrow. I will feel pretty safe after the 20° April


but I never change under clothing(sic) until forced to it, so ? ? lumbago. But I have had ? gout(?) not badly since(?) I wrote. Day before yesterday the 10° was the anniversary of my boy Harrys birth day(sic), would have been thirty three had he lived. His monument was to be set in place and the ? were to come over but it rained heavily and cold. The men sent did their work and I stood over them to see that they did it well, so I got wet and in the night and yesterday felt some touches of ? in my knee. It is all gone however. I have taken to dieting, eschewing sweets and starchy substances. It cuts down my food as to variety very much, which I don't mind, if they must put tempting things before me! especially sweets.

As to drinks, I drink neither "wine nor strong drink", as I am up at sunrise, two hours before our breakfast. I take a little coffee at the Home - a wholesome practice which I made all my men follow when I was stationed "down south", - and I drink cistern water - as part of my dietary-

Remainder of letter missing.