General Grant had been but five days the acting Secretary of War, when Johnson commenced the other part of his programme, by issuing an order for the removal of General Sheridan from the command of the fifth military district, and for the assignment of General Thomas to that position.
Being asked if he had any suggestions to make concerning this assignment, General Grant again protested against the movement as follows :--
. . . . . .
I am pleased to avail myself of this invitation to urge, earnestly urge, urge in the name of a patriotic people, who have sacrificed hundreds of thousands of loyal lives and thousands of millions of treasure to preserve the integrity and union of this country, that this order be not insisted on. It is unmistakably the expressed wish of the country that General Sheridan should not be removed from his present command.
This is a republic, where the will of the people is the law of the land.
I beg that their voice may be heard.
General Sheridan has performed his civil duties faithfully and intelligently.
His removal will only be regarded as an effort to defeat the laws of Congress.
It will be interpreted by the unreconstructed element in the South, those who did all they could to break up this government by arms, and now wish to be the only element consulted as to the method of restoring order, as a triumph.
It will embolden them to renewed opposition to the will of the loyal masses, believing that they have the Executive with them.
The services of General Thomas in battling for the Union entitle him to some consideration.
He has repeatedly
Boston: Samuel Walker and Company. 1868.
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