I have no means of knowing to what extent, if any, the Senate was influenced by this nomination, but anxiety about the ultimate result seemed to be soon allayed.
About a month later a vote was taken in the Senate, and the impeachment failed; my nomination was then confirmed, as stated at the time, by a nearly unanimous vote of the Senate.
I entered upon the duties of the office as Secretary of War
on the first day of June, and continued to discharge them until a few days after General Grant
's inauguration in March.
I was greeted very cordially by the President
, by all the members of his cabinet, by General Grant
, and by a large number of senators who called upon me at the War Department.
The duties devolved upon me were often of a very delicate character, and it required at times no little tact to avoid serious trouble.
's views were sometimes in direct conflict with those which I felt compelled to maintain under the acts of Congress affecting the States lately in rebellion; but it is due to the memory of President Johnson
to say that he did not at any time require me to do anything contrary to my interpretation of the acts of Congress, and that he in general acquiesced without objection in all the measures I deemed necessary to preserve the peace and secure a fair vote of the newly enfranchised citizens of the Southern States
in the Presidential election.
The cordial assistance of Mr. Evarts
was a great help to me in such matters.
When he was present I had little difficulty in respect to the law involved in any question; but when he happened to be absent, and I was compelled to stand alone against all the cabinet, or all who chose to take any interest in the question, it was hard work.
But I always carried the day—at least, in act if not in argument.
The President never decided against me. He thus fulfilled to the letter the implied