James H. Lane Papers, RG 501

FF 115: Hale to Lane, August 2, 1899, re: Hale's failed promotion to Colonelcy of 28th Regiment.



August 2, 1899
My dear General:

In your letter of June 15, 1896, telling me of your beginning to recover from your Commencement exhaustion as of [June] sending my military history to Major Avery, you say (with regard to the addendum which I asked you to send to Judge Clark to be included in your sketch of the 28th Regiment as one of the material and important facts of its history): "I will send the addendum to my sketch of my old regiment to Judge Clark when I feel more like writing."

As this letter, judging from its date, came just as I was in the midst of the fight which the Ring here has sprung upon me in order to prevent my election as Delegate-at-Large to the Democratic National Convention, and as I was just then starting - via Raeford Academy, (where I was to speak), and the State Convention at Raleigh - to Chicago, I got the sequence of the dates mixed up in my mind when I came back from Chicago and found your letter of [ten] days later (June 17, 1896). In the hurry of the campaign that ensued, I probably dismissed the subject, for the time being, from my

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thoughts as a thing provided for in the words which I have quoted above from your letter. At least, that is the only way in which I can account for my letting the matter drift so long, although my life is such a series of cataclysms that I find it impossible to keep the run of things that are not pressing at the moment. But a letter from Judge Clark, hurrying me up with my 1st Regiment sketch (which the failure, so far, of the two Charlotte companies to send me certain data has hung up), has set me to work among my papers, with the result that I have hunted up all of your letters which I could find (since the seventies) and arranged them chronologically. In looking over them, thus arranged, I find that the quoted words from the letter of the 15th of June were superseded by your letter of June 17th, in which you say:

"I have rested some and slept a great deal since the Commencement, and am feeling more like myself again. Let me know what you think of the enclosed addendum. Alter and suggest in writing, on the same paper, to suite yourself. My recollection is that the technical difficulty would never have been raised, had it not been for Engelhard's suggestions

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to Wilcox because you were my Adjutant General, and Capt. Linebarger's subsequent opposition. Linebarger was not with the command when it was signed and forwarded. Am I not right in saying that all of the officers present signed it? We must be very careful to state nothing but facts, as Linebarger, now living in South Carolina, thought he ought to have been made Colonel, and he has never forgiven me for endorsing you."

To the above inquiries, [&c.], I reply:

1. I return herein your draft of the addendum, which I have altered (by interlineations in red ink) in the way I think would be most complete and effective, while adhering strictly to the facts.

2. I substitute "legal impediment" for "technical difficulty" because those were the words which were used by Col. Taylor in his endorsement, which was as follows:

"Hd. Quarters A. A. G., 9 Oct., 1864. Res. ret'd. It would be useless to forward these papers as matters now stand; it would only delay matters. Unless the officers waive unanimously in favor of Capt. Hale the

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President will not appoint him because of the legal impediment which would govern his conduct. Let Capt. Linebarger be called before a Board of Examiners at once if he is able to travel that his competency may be tested. The law for appointment for "valor and skill" does not apply in this case, as Capt. Hale is not of the reg't. By order of Gen. Lee (sig.) W. H. Taylor, A.A.G. #8942."

You are quite right about the appointment going through except for the raising of the technical difficulty, for Col. Palmer told us that A.P. Hill, who wanted me promoted, said he was going to take it up to Gen. Lee, himself, so that there would be no mistake about it. We learned afterward, as, indeed, the dates of the endorsements show, that the papers were held (from Sept. 29th to October 5th) at Wilcox's Hd. Qrs., that is, until Linebarger's furlough expired, and that, as soon as he returned, Engelhard called at his tent and carried him up to Division Hd. Qrs., where he was induced to sign a protest. This protest was attached at Division Head Qrs., we were told by John Whitted, or somebody, but was detached upon its return, so that, though from a Captain of one of your Regiments, it

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never passed through your Head Qrs., either going or coming! Not only so, but the papers that came back to our Hd. Qrs., and now in my possession (and which I sent to you in 1893, when you were sending the eulogy of me to the Charlotte Observer) contain no reference to Linebarger (except that he had expressed to you his willingness to go outside of the Regiment for a Colonel) different from the reference to Bohannon, Green, &c.; and therefore General Lee's singling him out, specifically, for examination, without mentioning, Bohannon and Green, confirms the information received from Whitted, Stark (and others perhaps) that a protest from Linebarger had been attached after the papers left our Head Qrs.

A. P. Hill confined his endorsement to; "Respectfully forwarded [this in his clerk's handwriting-then adding in his own:] and, as it is desired by the officers, approved and recommended. (sig.) A.P. Hill, Lieut. Genl."

The technical difficulty once raised, there was, of course, no recourse open to General Lee but the one he embraced. But, after my return to camp, in December (the 5th or 6th), from sick furlough, we were contemplating the raising of the issue of

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throwing out Linebarger altogether, for being the chief actor in the unofficerlike and insulting act of flanking your Head Quarters in an official communication to his superiors, when the disturbing movements of the enemy along our front prevented the taking of the matter up - as they also prevented McGowan, Thomas and Scales from carrying out their intention to have Wilcox courtmartialed for cowardice and you made Major General. In fact, it broke up a lot of plans; for A.P. Hill, who was aware of much of my work during your wounded absence, and was very fond of me, intended, so I learned, to see that I, being made Colonel and therefore the ranking officer, fit for duty, in the Brigade, should receive promotion on your promotion. I have no doubt also, from what I heard, that in recognition of my [ ] services while you were wounded (being at all times, after Barry was disabled, the real and often the actual commander of the Brigade), I would have received the temporary Brigadiership which Barry's wound caused to be inoperative in his case, had it not been for Engelhard and Wilcox standing between me and those above.

3. You are right in saying that "all of the

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officers present signed it," as will appear from your endorsement, which was as follows:

"Brig. Gen. Lane. Hd. Qrs. Lane's Brigade, September 29th, 1864. Asks that Capt. E. J. Hale, Jr., the A.A.G. of his Brigade, be appointed Col. of the 28th N.C. Regiment for gallant and meritorious conduct. The application meets with the unanimous wish of all the Regimental officers present, as shown by the enclosed paper. #1836."

I do not think Linebarger has any cause for complaint at all. There were two officers ahead of him, Stowe and Lovell, and the instant the door was opened by superseding them, it became open to me, the unanimous choice of the rest of the officers - a choice naturally accorded me because I had so often lead them in battle. Besides, Linebarger ought to be thankful that he wasn't punished for his allowing himself to be trapped by Engelhard into violating the Regulations.

I infer that you have a copy of the 28th's petition, but I enclose one in case you can't lay your hands

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on it. Shall I send you the original papers again?

I have taken the liberty of making some most interesting extracts from your letters of November 3, 1884, (about Gen. Lee's prophecy), and of October 12, 1883, (about Battery Gregg), and inserting them in my little Daily of to-day, with comments. They will appear in to-morrow's Weekly, 6 copies of which I have directed to be sent to you. More, if you want. I have also had your name entered regularly. I don't know why I have neglected to do this heretofore, except from a half consciousness that such a little country paper was not worth burdening you with regularly. But in going over your old letters, those written before I went abroad, I see frequent mention of your pleasure in reading it.

Since the extracts above referred to were put in type, I have, in searching my voluminous stores of papers for some letter of yours that might

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not be included in my chronologically arranged file, found your letter of June 16, 1896, which, from its date, must have reached Fayetteville after my leaving for Raeford Academy, as above described, thence to Raleigh, and on to Chicago. I do not remember ever to have seen it before. I am grieved that I did not get the West Virginia honor in the paper at the time. I will make an article out of it all for next week's paper.

I am using your most valuable notes for my 1st Regiment sketch.

My wife joins me in warmest regards to you and your daughters, Misses Lidie, Mary (Mrs. Petrie), Katie and Lottie. I trust your daughter, Miss Lottie, is entirely recovered.
Your affectionate Friend, as ever
E. J. Hale

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I will be greatly obliged if you can get the addendum off to Judge Clark at an early date, and ask him to be sure to have it printed in its proper place. I will also write him to this effect.

You remark, in one of your letters, in reply to Linebarger's complaint against you of preferring me to him, that the movement did not originate with you. I know that, as intimated above, for I heard of it before I went on furlough, before your return, and, in fact, before the battle of Reams's Station; for,just as we were starting in at this fight, A.P. Hill, who came sweeping up at the moment, reined up his horse in his graceful, swinging way, and congratulated me on my expected promotion. There must have been a good deal of talk going on about it. I also heard it in connection with the movement of the three Brigadiers above described. As to the latter, by the way, McGowan told me that they were not going to ask you to join them because they recognized the fact that you would be the beneficiary of their ousting Wilcox irrespective of their intention to support you therefore.

I am sorry to see two or three typographical errors in the article "A Prophecy," particularly, "the latter" for "the letter." See 1st line of 3d paragraph.

As to Pettigrew, I myself think you


"far and away" ahead of him also; but he is a fetich in N.C., and it would weaken the effect of what I say about you, not to except him in such a sweeping opinion. Besides, what I say appears as an editorial of a public journal, which is something different from the editor personally. Am I not right?

Addendum to the Sketch of the 28th North Carolina Troops by Gen. James H. Lane.

[Note: Hale's edits of Lane's note appear in red, as they do on the original]
After the death of Col. Speer, all of the officers present addressed the following communication to the Sect'y of War:

(I will here insert the petition in full with all of the names.)

This petition was approved and recommended by Brigadier Gen. Lane, Maj. Gen. Wilcox and Lieut. Gen. A.P. Hill.

The legal impediment technical difficulty that Capt. Hale was "not of the regiment" prevented his being commissioned at the time Colonel of the 28th under the law for promotion for "valor & skill."  The impending subsequent campaign ending at Appomattox, prevented further action in the matter. Capt. Hale was subsequently appointed Major, A.A. & I General, under the Staff law that finally passed Congress & received the President's Signature.

James H. Lane
Pay no attention to my additions, if you don't like them. E.J.H.

Ala Polytechnic Institute
Auburn, Ala, Aug. 8, [1899]

Judge Walter Clark,
Raleigh, N.C.

My dear sir:

I send enclosed an addendum to my Sketch of the 28th N.C.T.

At the time I wrote the sketch I did not have "the document [ ] [ ]" about my gallant & true friend, Major E. J. Hale. Please be sure to have it printed in its proper place in the Sketch, & greatly oblige

Head Quarters Lane's Brigade
Near Petersburg, Virginia
September 29th 1864

Genl Saml Cooper
A. & I. Genl
Richmond, Va.


The 28th N.C. Regiment of my Brigade is without a Colonel and a Lieutenant Colonel. Col Sam. D. Lowe was retired and Lt Col W. H. A. Speer, recently promoted to fill the vacancy, has died of his wound received at Reams' Station. I respectfully ask that Capt E.J. Hale, Jr., the A.A.G. of this Brigade be promoted to the Colonelcy of said Regiment. As will be seen from the enclosed paper, the promotion asked for meets with the unanimous wish of all the Regimental officers present. Maj. S. N. Stowe and the five captains, present, among whom are the two Senior Captains, Lovill and Apperson - all desire it. Capt Linebarger the third ranking Captain, who is absent wounded, told me some time ago that he was anxious to have a thoroughly competent Colonel to command him and that he was willing to go out side of the Regiment to get such an officer. I am satisfied that Captains Bohannon and Green, both Junior Captains, would
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also be for the promotion were they here. The Regiment has only eight Captains now on its rolls. I once commanded this Regiment as its colonel and know that while it is composed of excellent fighting material, there is but little education amongst its officers and men.

Capt Hale is a North Carolinian by birth and education. He is a gentleman, an accomplished scholar, and a most excellent officer in every respect; I can bear testimony to his great gallantry in the battles of the Wilderness, Spotsylvania C.H. and Jericho Ford. On the 12th of May last at Spotsylvania C.H. he behaved with conspicuous gallantry in the flank attack made by this Brigade on Burnside's assaulting column and a battery of six guns. Genl. Conner and Colonels, Barbour, Barry and Cowan who, at different times, commanded my Brigade in the more recent engagements, all speak of him in the highest terms. Indeed the Captain has won the admiration of the entire Brigade by his coolness and bravery in time of action. In Capt Hale's promotion I will lose the services of a very efficient Staff Officer. I am actuated in making this application solely from a

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desire to see true merit rewarded by our government whenever it is possible, for it to do so, and because I believe, it will promote the efficiency not only of the 28th N.C. Regt, but of my whole command.
I am General most truly
Your obdt Servant
James H. Lane,
Brig. Genl


Brig Genl J.H. Lane
Hd. Qrs. Lane's Brigade

Sept 29th 1864

Asks that Capt E.J. Hale, Jr., the A.A.G. of his Brigade be appointed Col. of the 28th N.C. Reg't for gallantry and meritorious conduct - the application meets with the unanimous wish of all the Regimental officers present as shown by the enclosed paper.

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Hd Quarters Wilcox's Lt. Div.
October 5th 1864
Res. forwarded, approved and recommended But would much prefer to see some officer promoted who has seen more of the war. Capt Hale joined this army last Winter after the Division had gone into Winter quarters. There are many officers of this brigade who were present in the battles before Richmond 62, 2d Manassas, Sharpsburg, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, and Gettysburg who are not colonels and who would probably make good and efficient colonels if promoted. The Law allows promotion in cases of unusual acts of gallantry, but such cases should be clearly set forth in the recommendations
C.M. Wilcox
Maj. Genl
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Head Quarters 3rd Corps A.N.Va.
6th October 1864
Res. forwarded and as it is desired by the officers approved and recommended.
A.P. Hill
Lieut Genl.

Head Quarters A.N.V.
9th October 1864

Res. rtd. It would be useless to forward these papers as matters now stand; it would only delay matters. Unless the officers waive unanimously in favor of Capt Hale, the President will not appoint him, because there would be a legal impediment to the appointment which would govern his conduct. Let Capt Linebarger be called before a Board of Examiners at once if he is able to travel, that his competancy may be tested. The law for appointment for "valor and skill" does not apply in this case, as Capt Hale is not of the regt.
By order of Gen Lee
W. [N] Taylor

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Exhibit G.

Copy of Petition of 28th Regt. and endorsements thereon
Keep but return original by express

Correct Copy
Camp 28th N.C. Reg't Lanes Brig
Near Petersburg, Va. Sept 26th 1864

Genl Sam'l Cooper
A. and I. G.
Richmond Va


Our Reg't the 28th N.C.T. is without a Colonel and Lieut Colonel, and its Major S.N. Stoew is physically disqualified for active field duty. The Major has been but little with his command, and when with it, had done but little duty - he admits himself that he has been unable to walk half a mile at any one time for the last Six months.

It is the wish of the undersigned that we should be commanded by an officer of undoubted bravery, intelligence, education and general efficiency, and we therefore very respectfully ask that Capt E.J. Hale, Jr, the A.A.G. of this Brigade be appointed Colonel and assigned to the command of our Regiment. We have witnessed Capt Hale's gallantry in action and know that his is an accomplished officer in every respect.

S.N. Stowe, Maj. Commanding Regt.

R.S. Folger, Adj't
E.F. Lovill, Sen Captain
Thos V. Apperson, Capt Co F.
G.G. Holland, Capt Co. [H.]
A.W. Stone Capt Co. K.
G.W. McCawley, Capt Co. G.

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F.M. Nixon, Lt. Co. A
H.A. Parker, Lt. Co D
J.G. Trulove, 1st Lt. Co. F.
J.M. Starling 2nd "     "    "
D.F. Morrow, Lt. Co G.
W.W. Thornburg Lt. Co. C.
S.F. Yodel, Lt. Co. I.
R.D. Ormand, Lt. Co B.
J.W. Williams, Lt. Co. C.
D.B. Smith, Lt. Co. H.
S.T. Thompson Lt. Co. I.
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[Note: This is a draft, in blue ink and quick hand, of the previous message]

Camp 28th N.C. Reg't, Lane's Brigade,
Near Petersburg Va., Sept. 26th 1864.

Genl Sam'l Cooper,
A. & I. G.,
Richmond, Va.,


Our Reg't, the 28th N.C.T. is without a Colonel and Lieut. Colonel, and its Major, S.N. Stowe, is physically disqualified for active field duty. The Major has been but little with his command, and when with it, has done but little duty - he admits himself that he has been unable to walk half a mile at any one time for the last six months.

It is the wish of the undersigned that we should be commanded by an officer of undoubted bravery, intelligence, education and general efficiency, and we therefore very respectfully ask that Capt. E.J. Hale, Jr., the A.A.G. of this Brigade, be appointed Colonel and assigned to the command of our Regiment. We have witnessed Capt. Hale's gallantry in action and know that he is an accomplished officer in every respect.

S.N. Stowe, Major Commanding Reg't.

R.S. Folger, Adjt.
E.F. Lovill, Senior Captain
Thos. V. Apperson, Capt. Co. F.
G.G. Holland, Capt. Co. H.
A.W. Stone, Capt Co. K.
G.W. McCawley, Capt. Co. G.
F.M. Nixon, Lieut. Co. A.
H.A. Parker, Lieut. Co. D.
J. G. Truelove, 1st Lieut. Co. F.
J.M. Starling, 2d Lieut. Co. F.
D.F. Morrow, Lieut. Co. G.
W.M. Thromburg, Lieut. Co. G.
S.A. Yodel, Lieut. Co. I
R.D. Ormond, Lieut, Co. B.
J. W. Williams, Lieut. Co. G.
D.B. Smith, Lieut. Co. H.
S. T. Thompson, Lieut. Co. I

Transcribed by Terri Stout-Stevens of Pfafftown, NC, on August 6, 2000.  Edited by Martin T. Olliff, Assistant
Archivist, Auburn University, who takes responsibility for any errors.

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