March 9, 1883
Mr. J.G. Rosengarten,
My dear Sir,
Your favor of Feb. 17 was received yesterday and I am much obliged to you for an opportunity to smooth, no matter in how slight a degree any difficulty that may arise with regard to the proposed statue to Genl. Reynolds—a man I loved & respected so sincerely, so unqualifiedly that if in my power, the statue should be of gold, rather than of bronze. Our land never produced a citizen more worthy of emulation in all those qualities that make a chivalric soldier. I was, as you recollect, very intimately associated with him, from our leaving the Peninsula until just before the battle of South Mountain; Reynolds, Meade, & myself, having bivouaced [sic] together almost every night of that rather anxious period. Neither then, or at any other time did I ever hear from Genl. Reynolds’ lips an impatient, angry or immodest word, still less an oath. His mind was seemingly so calm and serene, always, and my conviction is, that his soul was as lofty as that of any hero of antiquity. Whoever knew him, must have loved and revered him as I did. That Taggart should endeavour to tarnish the shining glory of such a character simply proves that he could have known nothing of it, & can have nothing in sympathy with it; his abuse should only serve to enhance its splendor. Col. Taggart was requested by me, immediately after the battles before Richmond, either to resign promptly his commission, or accept the consequences of a refusal—he preferred to resign. Into the special reasons for my taking this cause in his case I do not care to enter further than to say that as commander of the Division, my duty compelled me to entertain them & to act upon them. Genl. Reynolds knew nothing of them personally nor did Genl. McCall, who I am sure would never have recommended Taggart’s reinstatement, if he had been somewhat informed regarding them. When Taggart rejoined the command just before serious battles were expected, Genl. Reynolds first heard from me the motives that led to his removal, and coincided so entirely with my action that Taggart was promptly refused any responsibility of command. Whatever abuse he may see fit to indulge in should be solely directed against myself, as Reynolds had nothing whatever to do with the essential features of his case. This groundless and unreasonable detraction of such a man as was Genl. Reynolds is sufficient proof that Taggart was & is thoroughly destitute of any of those qualities that should belong to an officer holding a position as responsible as the one that he must have held. With my best wishes for your success in this & all other undertakings in which you may be interested, believe me always.
P.S. Of course I do not write this for publication but otherwise you are free to use it as you may think best.