16, Confederate stratagem to raid Murfreesborough and kidnap Major-General Rosecrans
HDQRS. POLK'S CORPS, ARMY OF TENNESSEE, Shelbyville, March 16, 1863.
Lieut. Col. JAMES C. MALONE, Jr., Cmdg. Cavalry:
COL.: You have consulted me as to the lawfulness or expediency (supposing it to be practicable) of capturing and bringing out the general commanding the forces of the enemy, whose headquarters are now at Murfreesborough. It is a very grave enterprise, but if it could be accomplished, it would be attended with important results, especially if you could add to the capture the papers of his adjutant-general's office. As to its lawfulness there can be no doubt, for it is as lawful to capture one man in arms against us as another, nor can there be say doubt as to its expediency, for obvious reasons.
There is but a single point you have to guard against, and that is, that you do not allow his life to be taken, nor, as far as possible, any violence to be done to his person; for, while neither he nor those with whom he is associated in the campaign of extermination in which they are now engaged have a right to claim any forbearance at our hands, still, we owe it to ourselves to be true to our own civilization and to deprive the most critical of all occasions of censuring our mode of maintaining resistance. From the work of assassination we would recoil with just abhorrence. Bold and daring enterprises are in our line, and become those who are struggling against the bitterest persecution and the most merciless warfare. Take him, therefore, and his adjutant-general's papers with him, if you can, and I believe you can.
This will be handed you by my aide-de-camp, Lieut. W. B. Richmond, who volunteers to accompany you on the expedition.
Very respectfully, &c.,
L. POLK, Lieut.-Gen., Cmdg.
HDQRS. WHARTON'S CAVALRY BRIGADE, March 17, 1863.
Lieut.-Gen. POLK, Cmdg., &c.:
GEN.: I have the honor to acknowledge your letter of March 16, relative to the matter of which I had the honor to speak to you in person on the 14th instant, and I beg leave to say that I approve, most heartily, the sentiments you have expressed therein. As to the point of which you speak, relative to taking the life or doing other violence to the person of Gen. Rosecrans, I approve most fully your views. Far be it from my mind, general, to give this undertaking any appearance of a murderous character. My whole nature recoils from anything in this matter that looks toward assassination or murder. You may rest assured that, should the alternative of taking his life or abandoning the entire project be at any time presented me, I shall most assuredly choose the latter. Nothing short of an active effort upon his part to put my own life, or that of my command, in jeopardy would or could, in my opinion, authorize the taking of his life or injury to his person. This, I take it, we have no reasonable ground to apprehend.
I have the honor to be, general, with great respect, your obedient servant,
JAMES C. MALONE, JR., Lieut.-Col., Cmdg. Fourteenth Alabama Cavalry.
OR, Ser. I, Vol. 23, pt. II, pp. 701-702.
March 16, 1863, Grand Review of the Army of the Cumberland in Murfreesboro; excerpts from the letter of Albert Potter to his sister
Wednesday Mar 17th
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We had a grand review and inspection of all the Cavalry Force in the Department or nearly all by Maj Gen Rosecrans yesterday at 12 M It was a grand sight. The Review was on a large common 2 miles from town. There was one large flag with the Gen'l and then the "star" flags of each Brigadier or Commander of Brigade numbered to show which each commanded and then most of the different Companies had their Guidions. All together made a handsome show with the officers with their full uniforms and white gauntlets and red sashes. Gen Stanleywore a Yellow Sash. The maj gen wore none at all. Rosecrans is a large well proportioned man, looks about forty five. Is quite bald as I could see when he saluted the Brigadiers. He looks good-natured and benevolent. Has a large Roman nose slightly hooked as he passed us on a gallop with his staff. He said "good morning, gentlemen! I am glad to see you all out this morning." And a little further on "you are the hope of the army. Do you mind that?" and on he went talking along the line and encouraging the men. Mrs Rosecrans was at the Review also. I was not close to her. She was dressed in black and rode a splendid horse. I believe Gen Rosecrans is the most popular Gen'l in the army of the Union. He has never been whipped and permit me to say he never will be. The army in this department has the prestige of success and victory and we intend to keep our name good. The rumor prevails here at the present that Vicksburg is evacuated and the army moving up to crush us out. How much truth there is in the report I can't tell. We will be ready for them at any rate…..
Henry Albert Potter, Captain, Fourth Michigan Cavalry, Correspondence. As cited in:http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.com/~mruddy/letters.htm