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