immediately after his reinstatement, that it was his opinion that the act of Congress, entitled “An act temporarily to supply vacancies in the executive departments in certain cases,” approved February 20, 1863, was repealed by subsequent legislation, which materially influenced my action. Previous to this time I had had no doubt that the law of 1863 was still in force, and notwithstanding my action, a fuller examination of the law leaves a question in my mind whether it is or is not repealed. This being the case, I could not now advise his resignation, lest the same danger I apprehended on his first removal might follow. The course you would have it understood I agreed to pursue was in violation of law, and without orders from you; while the course I did pursue, and which I never doubted you fully understood, was in accordance with law, and not in disobedience of any orders of my superior. And now, Mr. President, when my honor as a soldier and integrity as a man have been so violently assailed, pardon me for saying that I can but regard this whole matter, from the beginning to the end, as an attempt to involve me in the resistance of law, for which you hesitated to assume the responsibility in orders, and thus to destroy my character before the country. I am in a measure confirmed in this conclusion by your recent orders directing me to disobey orders from the Secretary of War,--my superior and your subordinate,--without having countermanded his authority to issue the orders I am to disobey. With the assurance, Mr. President, that nothing less than a vindication of my personal honor and character could have induced this correspondence on my part, I have the honor to be, very respectfully, Your obedient servant,
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