ground broad enough for both Secretary
and general to stand upon.
Nothing further appears to have been said or done on that subject during that administration.
But upon the inauguration of the next, the Secretary of War
sent out to all the commanding generals
of the army copies of that letter of his predecessor, in which the general-in-chief
had been so mildly and respectfully, yet so thoroughly, beaten.
The army was thus given to understand that on that occasion their senior in command had not even been given a chance to ‘throw up the sponge,’ as his predecessor had done, but had been ‘knocked out’ by the first blow.
As if that was not humiliation enough for a great soldier to bear, whenever the Secretary
went away one of the same chiefs of bureaus that the general thought he had a right to command acted as Secretary of War
, to dominate over him!
But the loyal, subordinate soldier who had commanded great armies and achieved magnificent victories in the field while those bureau chiefs were purveying powder and balls, or pork and beans, submitted even to that without a murmur, for a great lawyer had told him such was the law, and how could he know any better?
It was only when the adjutant-general
, his own staff-officer, so made by the regulations which the general knew, was thus appointed over him, that his soldierly spirit rebelled.
The humblest soldier of a republic could not endure that.
All this was based upon the theory that the general of the army was not an officer of the War Department, and hence could not be appointed acting Secretary
of War. What other great department of the government could recognize the standing army as belonging to it, if not the Department of War?
Surely the little army had a hard time while it was thus turned out into the cold, not even its chief recognized as belonging to any department of the government of the country which they were all sworn to