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[441] it as a thing to be done. This feeling results from several causes, which I desire to explain to you, while I know you will give me credit for a desire to do what appears best for the public service, and satisfactory to all concerned, without too much concern for my own personal preferences.

In the first place, I have no little doubt of the possession of any special fitness for that position, and have pretty strong appreciation of its difficulties and importance. I do not feel at all confident that the flattering expectations of my friends will be realized from my management of the academy.

I have been there enough to know pretty well how difficult a post that of superintendent is, and how varied the good qualities a man ought to possess to fit him in all respects for it.

Rank and reputation will of course be of some assistance, but their good effect will be greatly impaired without the dignity of command belonging to them. To transfer an officer of rank from a high command and post of great responsibility and trust to one heretofore regarded as appropriate to an inferior grade, may be regarded as elevating the dignity of the new command, but looks much more like degrading the officer, and to that extent impairs the good effect desired to be produced. Besides, it is impossible for any officer not to feel that in taking such inferior command, although it is even for the avowed purpose of raising its dignity, that he is stooping to do so. Especially must both these effects be produced when the assignment is only an executive act. If it was done in pursuance of law, the case would be materially different. . . .

We were all delighted at the news of your return to Washington and the prospect of your restoration to the proper duties and authority of general of the army; and I sincerely hope the events to occur this week, alluded to in your telegram to-day, may be such as to justify you in taking the course universally desired by the army. We want our general where he can best look after all the interests of the military service, with power to command the army in fact as well as in name.

I have read with the greatest pleasure your capital speech to the Knights of St. Patrick.

Please present my respectful compliments to the Secretary of War, and my kindest regards to the President.

I am, dear General, as ever, truly yours,

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John M. Schofield (1)
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