that he did not assume to issue any orders in his own name, after the manner of the other chiefs.
Like a sensible man, he was content with the actual exercise of power, without caring to let the army know that he did it. He had only to use the name of the Secretary
or the general, as he pleased; either would answer with the army.
Of course I knew something of this before I went to Washington
, for the evidence of it was sometimes too plain to be ignored.
Yet it did seem to me passing strange to sit in my office about noon, where I had been all the day before, and learn from the New York papers what orders I had issued on that previous day!
Upon inquiry I was told that that was only a matter of routine, and a rule of long standing.
But I mildly indicated that such a practice did not meet my approval, and that I wished it changed, which was finally done, as explained in a previous chapter.
But even then I had no means of knowing whether an order sent to me in the name of the Secretary of War
had ever been seen by him, or whether it was the work of the adjutant-general
, or the product of some joint operation of two or more of the several chiefs, each of whom had the Secretary
's authority to do such things.
At length the Secretary
, though with evidently serious misgivings respecting some deep ulterior purpose of mine, consented that I might have an officer of the adjutant-general
's department, whom I knew, in my own office, to keep me informed of what I was to do, and, if possible, what orders I might actually receive from the Secretary
himself, and what from the several other heads of that hydra called the War Department.
After that change things went on much better; but it was at best only an armed truce, with everybody on guard, until the end of that administration, and then it came very near culminating in a pitched battle at the very beginning of the next.
By what seemed at the time