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[474] Department, could better assist a Secretary who to similar acquired qualifications for his office added far greater natural endowments and the just confidence of his country. Thus the major-general was treated as much worse than the lieutenant-general had been, as he was inferior to him in rank. But I also submitted without a word, because it was this time unquestionably the law as well as the will of my lawful superiors in office. I waited as patiently as I could, as the lieutenant-general had done, the time when by operation of law, human or divine, welcome relief from a burdensome duty would come, upon the official declaration that I had done, as best I could, all the duty that God and my country required of me.

One illustration will suffice to show the working of this new invention by which the general-in-chief was still further removed from the commander-in-chief, whose chief military adviser he was supposed to be. An act of Congress authorized the President to confer medals of honor upon soldiers of all grades who might be most distinguished for bravery in action. It is the most highly prized of all military rewards because given to the soldier, without regard to rank, for that service which every true soldier regards as of the greatest merit. The standard of merit deserving that reward is essentially the same in all the armies of the civilized world, and the medal is made of iron or bronze, instead of anything more glittering or precious, to indicate the character of the deed it commemorates. That standard of merit is the most heroic devotion in the discharge of soldierly duty in the face of the enemy, that conduct which brings victory, honor, and glory to the country for which a brave man has devoted his life in obedience to the orders which have come down to him from the head of the nation, which spirit of obedience and devotion creates armies and saves nations from defeat, disaster, or domestic convulsion. These highest tokens of a nation's honor had for many years

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