From the collections at the Leavenworth County Historical Society and Museum. Reprinted with permission from The Leavenworth County Historical Society and Museum and the Leavenworth Times. Donated by Debra Graden.
The Anthony Letters
He Faces Court Martial After Issuing Brigade Order No. 26
Leavenworth Times, 1956-7
July 8, 1862
I arrived here on Sunday the 6th from Columbus, Kentucky, 145 miles by the Mobile & Ohio railroad with orders to report to General Halleck in arrest. What they will make of it, I don't know. I think the matter will be kept under advisement for a time, and then I will be discharged.
I have demanded an immediate trial as all the witnesses against me are now here. The most that can be done will be a court martial, and cashiered. In that case I shall go to Washington and redress and will get it, too. They well know their weakness. They know the whole country would side with me and do not care to bring the issue before the country too prominently.
If nothing happens in a week or so I shall bring the whole matter to the attention of our senators, President Lincoln, and Sec'y Stanton for redress.
The regiment will be here today. They come by marches, with all the transportation. The infantry coming by rail.
The main points at issue at Gen'ls Halleck, Quimby, and Mitchell and myself are: 1st I issued brigade general orders No. 26 which they interpret in direct contradiction to Gen's Halleck's order No. 3 and Gen'l Quimby's order No. 16.
2nd. In Quimby's general order No. 16 it says "if anyone permits or countenances a violation of it they shall, if a commissioned officer, be reported for mustering out of the service."
I reported to Gen'l Mitchell that I had countenanced a violation of said order. Now the question comes -- have they the power and if they have, dare they muster me out for that cause? I reported myself for the purpose of being mustered out of the service, as with the present policy I do not care to remain in.
To me it seems that the presence of our army here is doing more to strengthen the rebel cause than to suppress it. No matter now outrageous and damning may have been the course of the rebels here, if they only take the oath they are idemnified[sic] for past and present losses of hay, oats, corn, and even rent for lands and houses occupied by our troops.
In one case Gen'l Mitchell paid a rebel $35 for hoes and mules grazing on one acre of clover. At first the rebel said he'd be damned if he'd take the oath, but the $35 was too great a temptation. Another old rebel was paid $470.
Our men are employed in watching rebel's onions, green peas, and potatoes, and if a poor soldier chances to allow his appetite to wander from the hard bread and side meat so far as to appropriate a rebel onion to his stomach -- woe unto him.
the union people stand by the roadside and with pails of water quench the thirst of the weary soldier and if they have an onion it is offered gratis, but to them our soldiers insist on paying.
A soldier is the most generous man in the world. He don't care for money, he hates meanness. It is not necessary to guard the union man's house and property as no soldier will harm him a dime -- he will go hungry first. But the soldiers think that when the government might take from Secesh some onions, beans, peas, them a saving of 25 per cent of their lives because without these fresh vegetables they suffer and die while guarding the property of their enemies. The soldiers are right.
Any amount of provisions are given to the families here in want whose sons, brothers, and fathers are in the Secesh army. Why this indifference as to the health and needs of our own men?
Under all these circumstances I think the army is better off without me than with me. And I shall have no heart to work until the policy of this department changes. Four fifths of the army are of the same opinion.
Am expecting the regiment every moment. The weather is hot, the whole country filled with transportation waggons, causing the air to be filled with dust. And the air very impure from the immense amount of filth accumulated by such immense massing of people, without proper police regulations.
D. R. Anthony
Colonel Anthony had openly defied higher authority by his General Order No. 26. It read:
Headquarters Mitchell's Brigade, Advance Column, First Brigade, First Division, General Army of the Mississippi; Camp Etheridge, Tennessee, June 18, 1862.
General Order No. 26
1. The impudence and impertinence of the open and armed rebels, traitors, secessionists, and southern rights men of this section of the State of Tennessee in arrogantly demanding the right to search our camp for fugitive slaves has become a nuisance and will no longer be tolerated. Officers will no longer be tolerated. Officers will see that this class of men who visit our camp for this purpose are excluded from our lines.
2. Should any such person be found within our lines they will be arrested and sent to headquarters.
3. Any officer or soldier of this command who shall arrest and deliver to his master a fugitive slaves, shall be summarily and severely punished, according to the laws relative to such crimes.
4. The strong Union sentiment in this section is most gratifying, and all officers and soldiers in their intercourse with the loyal, and those favorably disposed, are requested to act in their usual kind and courteous manner, and protect them to the fullest extent.
By order of D. R. Anthony, Lieutenant Colonel, Seventh Kansas Volunteers, commanding. W. W. H. Lawrence, Captain and Assistant Adjutant General.
General Mitchell returned to headquarters in a few days and resumed command of the brigade. He was furious over the issuance of the order and summoned Colonel Anthony before him when the following ensued:
Gen. M. -- "Col. Anthony, you will at once countermand you brigade order No. 26."
Col. A. -- "As a subordinate officer it is my duty to obey your orders, but you will remember, General Mitchell, that Order No. 26 is a brigade order, and I am not now in command of the brigade. Of course you are aware the lieutenant colonel of a regiment cannot countermand a brigade order?"
Gen. M. -- "Oh, that need not stand in the way, Colonel Anthony. I can put you in command long enough for that."
Col. A. -- "Do you put me in command of the brigade?"
Gen. M. -- "Yes, sir."
Col. A. -- "You say, General Mitchell, I am now commanding officer of this brigade?"
Gen. M. -- "Yes, sir, you are now in command."
Col. A. -- "Then sir, as commanding officer of this brigade I am not subject to your orders; and as to your request that Order No. 26 be countermanded, I respectfully decline to grant it. Brigade order No. 26 shall not be countermanded while I remain in command."
Colonel Anthony was arrested by General Mitchell upon the charge of insubordination. But Brigade Order No. 26 was never countermanded.