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[11] to the States of which they were citizens, and many others did so later. Their objects in quitting the United States Army, and their intentions to enter the service of the seceded States, were well known in the War Department. Yet no evidence of disapproval of these intentions was given by the Federal Administration, nor efforts made by it to prevent their execution. This seems to me strong proof that they were not then considered criminal.

Northern editors and political speakers accuse those who thus left the service of the United States for that of the Southern Confederacy, of perjury, in breaking their oaths of allegiance. It is impossible that the inventors and propagators of this charge can be ignorant that it is false. The acceptance of an officer's resignation absolves him from the obligations of his military oath as completely as it releases the government from that of giving him the pay of the grade he held. An officer is bound by that oath to allegiance to the United States, and obedience to the officers they may set over him. When the contract between the government and himself is dissolved by mutual consent, as in the cases in question, he is no more bound, under his oath, to allegiance to the government, than to obedience to his former commander. These two obligations are in force only during tenure of office. The individual who was an officer has, when he becomes a citizen, exactly the same obligations to the United States as other citizens.

This principle was always acted upon by the United States. Whenever a military officer received a new appointment, either of a higher grade, or of an equal one in another corps, he was required to

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