I would be sixty-four years old on the 8th of February, 1884, a date inconvenient to move, and not suited to other incidents; so I resolved to retire on the 1st day of November, 1883, to resume my former home at St. Louis, and give my successor ample time to meet the incoming Congress, But, preliminary thereto, I concluded to make one more tour of the continent, going out to the Pacific by the Northern route, and returning by that of the thirty-fifth parallel. This we accomplished, beginning at Buffalo, June 21st, and ending at St. Louis, Missouri, September 30, 1883, a full and most excellent account of which can be found in Colonel Tidball's "Diary," which forms part of the report of the General of the Army for the year 1883.
Before retiring also, as was my duty, I desired that my aides- de-camp who had been so faithful and true to me should not suffer by my act. All were to retain the rank of colonels of cavalry till the last day, February 8, 1884; but meantime each secured places, as follows:
Colonel O. M. Poe was lieutenant-colonel of the Engineer Corps United States Army, and was by his own choice assigned to Detroit in charge of the engineering works on the Upper Lakes, which duty was most congenial to him.
Colonel J. C. Tidball was assigned to command the Artillery School at Fort Monroe, by virtue of his commission as lieutenant-colonel, Third Artillery, a station for which he was specially qualified.
Colonel John E. Tourtelotte was then entitled to promotion to major of the Seventh Cavalry, a rank in which he could be certain of an honorable command.
The only remaining aide-de-camp was Colonel John M. Bacon, who utterly ignored self in his personal attachment to me. He was then a captain of the Ninth Cavalry, but with almost a certainty of promotion to be major of the Seventh before the date of my official retirement, which actually resulted. The last two accompanied me to St. Louis, and remained with me to the end. Having previously accomplished the removal of my family to St. Louis, and having completed my last journey to the Pacific, I wrote the following letter:
HEADQUARTERS ARMY UNITED STATES, WASHINGTON, D. C., October 8, 1883.
Hon. R. T. LINCOLN, Secretary of War.