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[422] have usually the result of accomplishing little or nothing. In fact, long study of the subject, at the instance of Generals Grant and Sherman, earnest efforts to champion their views, and knowledge of the causes of their failure, had led me to the conclusion heretofore suggested, namely, that under the government of the United States an actual military commander of the army is not possible, unless in an extreme emergency like that which led to the assignment of Lieutenant-General Grant in 1864; and that the general-in-chief, or nominal commanding general, can at most be only a ‘chief of staff,’—that or nothing, —whatever may be the mere title under which he may be assigned to duty by the President.

As the first step in the experimental course decided upon, I sent an order in writing to the adjutant-general, directing him never, under any circumstances, to issue an order dictated by me, or in my name, without first laying it before the Secretary of War; and I made it known to all the staff that I disclaimed the right to issue any order to the army without the knowledge of the President or the Secretary. I also forbade the issuing of any order in my name without my knowledge. The first rule was easy, the latter very difficult, to enforce. I found, with no little surprise, that the office of the ‘commanding general’ usually learned for the first time of routine orders issued in his name by seeing them published in the New York papers the next day; and it was quite difficult at first to make it distinctly understood that such a practice could not be tolerated. In fact, it became necessary to call attention to the question of veracity involved in such a use of the general's name. Such was the condition the War Department had reached. The adjutant-general had acquired the habit of issuing nearly all orders to the army without the knowledge of any one of his superiors—the President, the Secretary of War, or the general-in-chief. In fact, the adjutantgeneral

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