the active list of the army.
The President had known little of me either officially or personally, and I had had some grave differences with the Secretary of War
upon subjects of great importance in my estimation, though doubtless less in his. I had defended as well as I could, and with some persistence, what I then believed and now know was the right, but had been worsted, as a matter of course.
It is due to the Honorable Secretary
to say that he disclaimed, many months later, ever having knowingly given his sanction to the document announcing one of the military doctrines which I had so persistently but ineffectually combated.
But I did not know that in August, 1888, and he did not then know that he had been thus betrayed.
Hence I thought it quite improbable that a general holding opinions so radically opposed to those of the Secretary of War
would be called to the command of the army.
But I quietly waited in Washington
for the President
's orders, neither seeking nor receiving any opportunity for explanation of the supposed irreconcilable difference with the Secretary of War
What occurred in that secret council-chamber of the commander-in-chief
, where the fate of so many anxious soldiers has been sealed, I have never known or inquired; but in no great length of time came the President
's order assigning me to the command of the army,— six or seven hours, as I afterward learned, after it was received in the War Department and given to the press.
It is not too much to say that the condition of the War Department at that time was deplorable.
It was the culmination of the controversy respecting the relations between the administration and the command which had lasted, with slight intermissions, for forty years. It is not my purpose to go into the history of that long controversy, but only to state briefly its final result, part of which was perhaps due to General Sheridan
's extreme illness for some time before his death, and his retention