Author Thomas A. Van Horne says. . . .

Capt. Gaw Suggested the Return of
           Garfield and Rosecrans Ordered It

from "The Diary of John Beatty"
printed in Ohio History, Volume  58, pages 411 and 412

Monday, March 3, 1884 Chaplain Van Horn the author of

the History of the Army of the Cumberland and the Life of General

George H. Thomas was in the bank this morning, and among other

things said that the statement made in the campaign life of Garfield

to the effect that Garfield was the hero of Chickamauga, is simply

ridiculous; his presence on the field had no influence whatever on

the battle: he made no important suggestion to Thomas, and was
after his return simply a spectator. The claim that he returned at
his own option is untrue. Captain Gaw, who had been ordered by
Rosecrans to guide him and his staff to Chattanooga by the shortest
possible route, took them over the ridges to the Day Valley road and
then said "General this is the direct road to Chattanooga, I trust
you will permit me to return to General Thomas." "Certainly"
Rosecrans replied "tell Thomas" so and so. "But" said Gaw
"would it not be better to send your Chief of Staff with any order
you may have for General Thomas." Thereupon Rosecrans directed
Garfield to return to the field and tell Thomas that he had gone
to Chattanooga to prepare for the reception of the Army when it
should fall back. The conversation between Gaw and Rosecrans
may not be correctly stated, and the order from Rosecrans to
Thomas by Garfield may not be given exactly, but the fact that
Gaw suggested the return of Garfield, and that Rosecrans ordered
it, is the point about which Van Horn says there is no doubt. Gaw
was of Thomas' staff, not Rosecrans's. It was the thought, possibly,
that a message from the commanding General should be sent by
his chief of staff which led to Garfield's return. There was no
difficulty in returning. The whole right wing, or so much of it as
had abandoned the field, could have returned as Garfield and Gaw
did without encountering opposition. The same may be said of
the troops led off by Negley.

Return to General Rosecrans, Part 4, Civil War