promise that I should ‘be subject to no supervision except by the usual board of visitors and the general commanding the army.’
This offensive action arose not simply from ignorance of General Sherman
's promise, of which the adjutant-general
and the Secretary of War
had evidently not been informed, but from culpable ignorance of the academic regulations on the part of the adjutant-general
, and still more culpable disregard of the invariable rule of courtesy enjoined by military law among military men. With no little difficulty I restrained my indignation so far as to write a calm and respectful letter to the Secretary of War
, inclosing a copy of my correspondence with General Sherman
respecting my command at West Point
, and pointing out the regulation which he or the adjutant-general
had ignored, and requesting him to submit the whole matter to the President
It is due to the Honorable Secretary
, and is a pleasure to me, to say that he did not wait the slow course of the mail, but telegraphed me at once that it was all a mistake, and that he made all the amend that a gentleman could make under the circumstances.
He as well as I had been made the victim of the ignorance and discourtesy of a staff officer, in a matter about which the Secretary of War
could of necessity know nothing unless the staff officer informed him. But I was determined to guard against any such outrage in future, and hence insisted that West Point
be erected into a military department.
By this means I would become entitled to the effective intervention and protection of the general of the army.
This is the origin of that anomaly which must have puzzled many military men, namely, the ‘Department of West Point.’
But I discovered in time that even this safeguard was by no means sufficient.
I had some apprehension on this subject at the start, and telegraphed General Sherman