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[423] had in practice come very near being ‘commander-in-chief.’

Some time and much patience were required to bring about the necessary change, but ere long the result became very apparent. Perfect harmony was established between the War Department and the headquarters of the army, and this continued, under the administrations of Secretaries Proctor, Elkins, and Lamont, up to the time of my retirement from active service. During all this period,—namely, from 1889 to 1895, under the administrations of Presidents Harrison and Cleveland,—the method I have indicated was exactly followed by the President in all cases of such importance as to demand his personal action, and some such cases occurred under both administrations. The orders issued were actually the President's orders. No matter by whom suggested or by whom formulated, they were in their final form understandingly dictated by the President, and sent to the army in his name by the commanding general, thus leaving no possible ground for question as to the constitutional authority under which they were issued, nor of the regularity of the method, in conformity with army regulations, by which they were communicated to the army.

It is, I think, to be hoped that the system thus begun may be fully developed and become permanent, as being the best practicable solution of a long-standing and dangerous controversy, and as most in accord with the fundamental principles of our constitutional government, under which the President, whether a soldier or a civilian, is in fact as well as in name the commander-in-chief of the army and navy.

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