16 Broad Street, Boston, August 9, 1865.
Hon. E. M. Stanton: —
Dear Sir,— You were kind enough to say to me a few weeks ago, when I called to pay my respects to you before leaving Washington, that you would be glad to do anything for me at any time. I take you at your word, and ask you frankly for advice on a subject which has been suggested by some of my friends, in the army and out.
They are desirous that I should visit Europe before I leave the army, — that I should be there while an officer of the U. S. Volunteers, — and wish me to apply for a six months’ leave of absence. You are aware that I lost my leg in the first year of the war, and have been in the service (active) ever since, being badly wounded again at the assault on Port Hudson in the arm and other foot (where my conduct caused you to offer me a brigadier-general's commission), and again in the Wilderness. My health was very much impaired by my imprisonment last summer, and I have not been well since, although on duty in command of the First Division, Ninth Corps, until within a few weeks, after I was fit for any duty. I have not sought for assignment to any duty since the muster-out of the troops, for I knew there were a hundred applicants for every one place, and I did not care to swell the number. I am at home, awaiting orders. I thought I would take you at your word, sir, and instead of sending a formal application for this leave, backed by such influence as I might command, I would simply ask you what favor such a request would meet with from you.
Colonel Conolly, Adjutant-general (late) of forces in Canada, is desirous that I should visit England while I am still in the army.
Will you be kind enough to tell me your views on the subject, and whether you will grant such a request?
I should expect to be mustered out at the expiration of the leave unless my services were required, which is not probable.
Even if the leave were to be on half or without pay, from the time when I should otherwise be mustered out, it would meet the wishes of my friends, as far as still being in the service is concerned. Hoping for an answer as frank as my statement to you is, I remain, very respectfully and sincerely,
Your obedient servant,
W. F. Bartlett, Brigadier-general.
SOURCE: Francis Winthrop Palfrey, Memoir of William Francis Bartlett, p. 152-4