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[479] President and the other general of the army, I studied the subject as thoroughly as I was capable of doing, and formulated a regulation intended to define the relations between the Secretary of War, the general of the army, and the staff departments. I still think that plan of my great superiors, only formulated by me, would have worked quite satisfactorily if it could have had general and cordial support. Yet I do not think it was based upon the soundest view of the constitutional obligations of the President as commander-in-chief of the army, nor at all consistent with the practice in this country of giving the command of the army to the officer happening to be senior in rank, without regard to the ‘special trust and confidence’ reposed in him by the President for the time being. It was based too much upon the special conditions then existing, wherein the general of the army, no less than the Secretary of War, enjoyed the confidence of the President in the highest degree. The plan proposed to give far too great authority to the general, if he did not, for whatever reason, enjoy the full confidence of the President. It also trusted too much to the ability and disinterested fidelity of the several chiefs of the staff departments. In short, it was based upon a supposed higher degree of administrative virtue than always exists even in this country.

However all this may be, the proposed regulation did not meet with cordial support, so far as I know, from any but General Grant, General Sherman, and General M. C. Meigs, then quartermaster-general. The other bureau chiefs earnestly opposed it. It was near the end of General Grant's second term, and no effort was made, so far as I know, to adopt any regulation on the subject in the next or any succeeding administration. The personal controversy between General Scott and the Secretary of War many years before had resulted in the repeal, through revision, of the old and quite satisfactory regulation

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U. S. Grant (2)
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