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[12] to seniority upon the ground of superior rank when appointed.

General Butler adds, that “questions of seniority now are only useful in points of etiquette and service upon courts-martial.” But these questions involve something more than etiquette; they are questions of rank, and of rank under such circumstances as often to convey the most positive control and command. The resolution of April fourth, 1862, authorizing the President “to assign the command of troops in the same field or department to officers of the same grade, without regard to seniority,” does not vitiate the right to command, which is given by superiority of rank, except in those cases when it is specially so ordered by the President.

I rest here my remarks on the subject, concluding briefly. General Butler demands that the commissions of Generals McClellan and Fremont be in part set aside in his favor, upon the ground that, in consideration of his services in the department of Annapolis, the President intended to give him the position now legally held by one of those two officers. To this I desire, finally, to reply that the act of the President and Senate which conferred on them their commissions was constitutional and binding in all its terms, and I respectfully submit that there is no authority competent to modify it.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

John C. Fremont, Major-General U. S. A.

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