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[biographers note: Returning to field command with Grant in his 1864 Virginia campaign, he hesitated to commit troops and performed inadequately. Then on July 30, 1864, he mishandled the Battle of the Crater, and that was the last straw. He was relieved of responsibility the first week in August, and on August 14 left the service. Burnside was bitter and considered himself as fired, a fine thank you for all the effort he had put into a Union victory. His senior and most loyal general, Orlando Wilcox, wrote him a letter of commiseration on his dismissal, and we offer Burnside’s reply.]
My dear General: Your kind note with "drop of comfort" are most acceptable. Please thank Mr. McKenzie in my name when you write him for his kind consideration. I will call at your headquarters on my return from the South.
Truly your friend, A. E. Burnside
[biographer's note: the attempt to console Burnside, though appreciated, was, as he says, a 'drop' in the bucket to the pain of his removal. Wilcox, who was Burnside’s natural successor, was passed over for the promotion, probably as the result of his association with Burnside.]