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[471] a very sharp trick, but which may possibly have been only the natural working of the vicious system, I was made to appear to the new Secretary of War as having failed promptly to give effect to an order authorized by his predecessor, but on which no authentic marks of his authority appeared, only such as might indicate that it came from another source. But if it was a trick, it signally failed. A few candid words from one soldier to another, even if that other had not been a soldier all his life, were quite sufficient to dissipate that little cloud which at first had threatened a storm. Then sunlight began to appear; and when, in due time, by the operation of some natural laws, and some others happily enacted by Congress, certain necessary changes came about, the sky over the War Department became almost cloudless, and I trust it may never again be darkened as it had been nearly all the time for forty years.

General Sheridan had entered upon his duties with all the soldierly courage and confidence of his nature, declaring his purpose to regain the ground lost by General Sherman when, to use Sheridan's own expressive words, ‘Sherman threw up the sponge.’ He announced his interpretation of the President's order assigning him to the ‘command of the army’ as necessarily including all the army, not excepting the chiefs of the staff departments; and he soon gave evidence of his faith by ordering one of those chiefs on an inspecting tour, or something of that kind, without the knowledge of the Secretary of War. Thus the Secretary found the chief of one of the bureaus of his department gone without his authority, he knew not where. It was not difficult for the Secretary to point out to the general, as he did in writing, in a firm, though kind and confidential way, that such could not possibly be the true meaning of the President's order. No attempt appears to have been made to discuss the subject further, or to find any

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William T. Sherman (2)
P. H. Sheridan (2)
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