Correspondence from C. J. Paine to Lieutenant-Colonel Smith
HDQRS. THIRD DIVISION, EIGHTEENTH ARMY CORPS,
In the Field, Va., November 5, 1864.
Assistant Adjutant-General, Dept. of Va. and N.C..:
COLONEL: One of the largest and best brigades of this division is now disabled and rendered unreliable and of uncertain value by the want of a competent commanding officer of suitable rank, Colonel Holman, its commander, and Colonel Kiddoo, commanding one of its regiments, having both been wounded on October 27, and the colonel of the remaining regiment of the brigade having been wounded before Petersburg. There are six other infantry colonels in the division. Of these, two are commanding brigades, two are absent (wounded September 29), one is recently appointed and absent sick, and the last one, Colonel Wright, Tenth U.S. Colored Troops, I now wish assigned to the command of the First Brigade of this division, at present commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel Chamberlain, Thirty-seventh U.S. Colored Troops. I once before placed Colonel Wright in command of a brigade and in very difficult circumstances. His good conduct and capacity were remarkable. By Special Order 309, department headquarters, October 24, 1864, Colonel Wright was ordered to report to the commanding officer Third Division, Tenth Army Corps, for assignment to duty. I presume he is commanding a brigade in that division, though I have no official or other information, and it may be that to remove him from that brigade would be a very great injury to it. But I am sure that it would be no greater injury to that brigade than mine is now suffering, and justice would seem to require that if either must suffer it should not be mine, for Colonel Wright belongs to my division and to the Eighteenth Corps. I beg to call particular attention to the fact that the engagement in which Colonels Holman and Kiddoo were wounded was subsequent to the order detailing Colonel Wright as Above. While it would give me the greatest pleasure to spare a good regimental commander to command a brigade in another division, I do not deem it just for me to spare an officer for only an equal command elsewhere, especially when my own command is suffering so greatly for him. I respectfully ask of the major-general commanding the Department of Virginia and North Carolina that Col. E. Wright, Tenth U.S. Colored Troops, now on duty in the Third Division, Tenth Corps, be ordered to report to me for duty.
I am, colonel, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
C. J. PAINE,