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[229] to handle its ships, that gallant seaman then had but three little wooden vessels.

Near the end of the month, before leaving Mobile to return to Morton, I received, from an officer to whom it had been intrusted, a letter from the President, ostensibly to correct a misapprehension of mine in relation to the telegram of May 9th, directing me to assume immediate command of the army in Mississippi, but actually commenting very harshly upon much of my military conduct since the previous December. It was not unexpected, for General Wigfall, of the Confederate States Senate, had told me, in recent letters, that a friend of his had twice seen such a paper in preparation in the office of the Secretary of State.

If all the misconduct alleged had been actually committed, the Administration was unjustifiable in keeping me in a position so important as the command of a department. As good-natured weakness was never attributed to Mr. Davis as a fault, it is not easy to reconcile the assertions and tone of this letter with his official course toward me — his not only retaining me in command of a department, but subsequently assigning me to that of the Army of Tennessee after its defeat under General Bragg at Missionary Ridge — the latter being far more important than any other military position in the Confederate service, except that occupied by General Lee.

The accusations of this letter were answered seriatim, on my return to my office in Morton, in a letter dated August 8th.

In its next session, and on the 11th of December, Congress called for the “correspondence of the President, ”

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