39 Arch St., Boston, Mass.
Aug. 10, 1877
Maj. J.G. Rosengarten.
Your very kind letter of the 7th inst. is received, and I hardly know how to gratefully thank you for your kind words of commendation. Silence is sometimes more expressive than more words; in this instance it must be so, for I feel totally unable to properly express myself.
When Genl. Howard published his “________” article I at once saw that he had laid himself open to severe criticism, and anxiously waited for some officer of the 1st Corps to take up the cudgels. No one appeared & then I, though “only a private” & a mere strip ___ when the battle was fought (I was then not quite 18 years old), determined to try & do something. “Harper”, the “Galaxy” and the Phila. “Times” declined the article & I began to conclude that any further efforts were useless when Lt. Col. [Hovey?] caused it to be anonymously published in the “Transcript.” Copies have been sent to all 1st Corps officers whose addresses were known, and several have replied all in one uniform tone of commendation. The intention and desire was to provoke controversy and so reach the truth but so far we can find no one to pick up the gauntlet.
I gladly send you a few copies and am very grateful to find that my humble attempt at vindication of the memory of Genl. Reynolds has met with your approval. In the course of a rather extensive correspondence I am surprised to learn so many new points concerning Gettysburg; notably the theory of the battle having resulted from a “concerted plan” between Genls. Buford & Reynolds. I am thoroughly convinced that the true history of the battle has not yet seen the light.
From the very fact of my having served “in the ranks” I am not familiar with the merits of the officers of the Corps other than as to their fighting qualities (and on that point we used to form our opinion) so I shall not presume to say anything on so momentous a matter as the selection of an orator at West Point.
My place of business (proof reader) is 39 Arch St. and if you should be in Boston and honor me with a call I shall be very very much pleased to see you.
On Sept. 7 the city dedicates its soldiers monument. On that day our Rgt. (12th Mass.) hold their reunion. I shall write to our Lt. Col. (B.F. Cork, Gloucester, Mass.) asking him to send you a formal invitation to be present as the guest of the Rgt. as I will know that any officer of Reynolds’ staff would be most cordially received by either the 12 or 13 Mass. Vols. Your presence would also greatly aid us in the furtherance of a proposed attempt on the part of the 12th Mass. at a formal vindication of the memory of our revered Genl. We seem to want to do something in that direction, but having no leader as yet have accomplished nothing. Genl. Jos. A. Hall suggests a reunion of the Corps. That might solve the difficulty tho’ perhaps the presentation at West Point may cover the whole matter.
I am in constant correspondence with Col. Hovey, 13 Mass. & Col. Cork (12 Mass.). We three are self-constituted managers of the monument in this neighborhood. We do want to see Genl. Reynolds’ abilities & services acknowledged more fully than heretofore.