I ask permission to call your attention to practices prevailing at the War Department, which are disorganizing in their effects upon this army, and destructive to its discipline. Orders of the War Department are received daily, granting leaves of absence and furloughs, and detailing soldiers for some service away from their companies, based upon applications made directly to the Hon. Secretary of War, without the knowledge of commanding officers, and in violation of the army regulations on this subject. The object of this wholesome rule, which was to give the Government the right to be heard through its officers, is defeated, the Department acting upon mere ex-parte statements. This is especially the case in reference to furloughs, their arrival being, usually, the first intimation of an application.... My object in writing to your excellency on this subject is, to invoke your protection of the discipline and organization of this army. My position makes me responsible for the former, but the corresponding authority has been taken from me. Let me urge its restoration. The course of the Secretary of War has not only impaired discipline, but deprived me of the influence in the army without which there can be little hope of success. I have respectfully remonstrated with the Hon. Secretary, but without securing his notice....His excellency's reply gave me reason to suppose that he would not interfere; for he assured me, in his answer to my appeal, that I had been imposed
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