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[421] War, and the general-in-chief,—without any legal definition of the part which belongs to each. Of course ‘the machine’ ran very smoothly in the one case, though there had been much friction in the other.

In compliance with the wish of General Grant, I remained in office under him for a few days, for the purpose of inaugurating the system which he hoped would end the long-standing controversy between the War Department and the headquarters of the army. The order which was issued assigning General Sherman to command the entire army, staff as well as line, was prepared by me under General Grant's instructions, and the draft of the order was approved by him as expressing the views he had maintained when he was general-in-chief. As President he very soon yielded to the opposite views, and caused the order to be amended accordingly.

That General Sherman then entertained views of his authority which were too broad, as General Grant had also done, is no doubt true; but it ought not to have been very difficult to correct such errors. It was easier to take away all administrative authority and all command over the general staff of the army, and the latter course was adopted. The ancient controversy was up to 1888 no nearer settlement than it was in 1869, though in General Sheridan's time some progress had been made in the persistent efforts to deprive the general-in-chief of the little authority which had been left to General Sherman. General Sheridan had, with his usual gallantry and confidence, renewed the contest, but had been worsted in his first encounter with the Secretary, and then gave up the struggle.

Upon my assignment to the ‘command of the army’ in 1888, I determined to profit so far as possible by the unsatisfactory experience of Generals Scott, Grant, Sherman, and Sheridan—at least so far as to avoid further attempts to accomplish the impossible, which attempts

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