In front of Petersburg, Va.
Sept. 17, 1864
Your note informing me that my telegram of some days since asking you what message of those I had previously sent, you expected me "to withdraw" was received last evening.
The message which you expect me to withdraw it appears is the one replying to yours which I considered not a civil or a proper reply to my first note -- I so consider it now.
By your telegram in which you state you expect me to withdraw my message to you, you appear to base such a claim upon the fact that Captain Ham reported to me. And you express surprize(sic) that 48 hours elapsed subsequently without your having heard from me.
Captain Ham, reported to me in the afternoon. After I had received your letter to which I took exception: and after I had replied to it. I had been previously told that Captain Ham had charge of certain batteries and that Capt. Edgill had charge of certain others to the left. This I learned from the latter before writing to you. My first dispatch: Therein I made a request of you, that Capt. Edgill should have charge of the batteries about the plank-road, and for one thousand yards to the right -- as I had a delicate operation to perform and I wished as few heads as possible.
You did not accede to that request -- but ignored it. Your remarks concerning the work on the "powerful fort", I did not consider written in the temper that was consistent with the circumstances and I was not alone in that opinion -- I therefore replied to you that I should not address any further communications to you in reference to artillery on the line, but would appeal to other sources -- I applied the to the commander of the Army for Capt. Edgill to have charge of the batteries for the time being which I had referred to you and which you did not conclude to accede to or notice in a civil way, and sent to him the correspondence which has passed between us. My request was acceded to promptly by the Commander of the Army -- When in the afternoon Captain Ham reported to me, he did so generally stating that he had been sent by you. He did not say that he was to report to take charge of the whole line or that portion I had requested Capt. Edgill to be placed in charge of, but simply reported to me for orders and I and my Chief of Staff understood that he had reported as in charge of those batteries on the line which Capt. Edgill previously told me he Capt. H. had charge of. I had not then received my reply to the letter written to the Head Qrs of the Army: I explained to Capt. H. in a few words that I had asked that Capt. Edgill should have charge for that night of certain batteries and that you had not acceded to it, but that I had addressed the Commander of the Army on the subject and until I had received his reply I had no orders to give him.
I requested him herein to remain at his quarters until 1 o'clock a.m. 10th inst. as if my request concerning Capt. Edgill was not granted. I intended to do the best under the circumstances and use the services of both not intending to be deterred in accomplishing what I had in view, even if I could not have matters arranged as I thought best -- After receiving Genl Humphreys' reply to my communication I sent my chief of Artillery to arrange with him in order to a perfect understanding and to let him know that he Capt. E. had been placed in charge as I requested. I had no further communication with Capt. Ham. When Genl Humphreys telegraphed me as above he also stated he had seen you and that he understood from you that you had ordered Capt. Ham to report to me, not only that he might be under the orders of my Chief of Artillery but that I might also make any changes that I desired in the batteries -- placing in position such as I preferred of my own artillery and withdrawing those not belonging to my Corps, not only for that night but as a permanent arrangement &c.
I had then seen Captain Ham and as he did not report to me for such purposes but only as I have before stated I replied to Genl Humphreys as follows.
"Capt. Ham did report to me but not under the conditions mentioned un your dispatch, and I gave him no orders until I could hear from you. Your dispatch arranges the matter satisfactorily as would a similar dispatch from Genl Hunt in answer to mine first sent him."
I have thought it best to make this detailed resume of the matters in point. I consider there is nothing in my message to you unjust and I therefore decline withdrawing it.
Your obt Servt
(Signed) Winfd S. Hancock
Maj. Gen of Vols
To: Brig Gen H. J. Hunt
Chief of Artillery
A of P. Va.