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[88] from Mr. Benjamin, acting Secretary of War: “Our news indicates that a movement is being made to cut off General Loring's command. Order him back to Winchester immediately.” After I had received from General Jackson information of this singular interference, it seemed to occur to Mr. Benjamin that his order should have been sent directly to me, for a copy came to my office then.

General Jackson thought himself so much wronged, officially, by this procedure of the acting Secretary of War that, immediately after obeying the order, he sent me a letter addressed to that officer, for transmission to him, asking to be relieved of his command, either by restoration to his professorship in the Virginia Military Institute, or by the acceptance of the resignation of his commission in the Confederate army. I retained the letter, and wrote him this remonstrance:

My dear friend, I have just read, with profound regret, your letter to the Secretary of War, asking to be relieved from your present command, either by an order to the Virginia Military Institute, or the acceptance of your resignation.

Let me beg you to reconsider this matter. Under ordinary circumstances, a due sense of one's own dignity, as well as care for professional character and official rights, would demand such a course as yours. But the character of this war, the great energy exhibited by the Government of the United States, the danger in which our very existence as an independent people lies, require sacrifices from us all who have been educated as soldiers. I receive my information of the order of which you have such cause to complain, from your letter. Is not that as great

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