and most becoming modesty have not met with any appropriate advancement or other recognition.
In the official intercourse of a soldier with the great departments of government, he often finds useful those maxims which have served him as commander of an army in the field.
The most important of these is, not to enter a combat where he is sure to be beaten, as, for instance, where his opponent is the judge who is to decide the issue.
As in war, so in administration, battle once joined, questions of right become obscured.
The most powerful guns and battalions are sure to win. It is much wiser to seek an ally who carries a heavier armament.
Some subordinates of mine—clerks and messengers, I believe—were once required to refund some money which had been paid them on my interpretation of the law and regulations.
My careful explanation of the ground of my action was promptly disapproved.
I then requested that the money be charged to me and the whole matter referred to Congress, in reply to which request I was informed that the accounts had been settled.
In another case I requested that my appeal from adverse action be submitted to President Grant
, who had had occasion to know something about me. I was requested by telegraph, in cipher, to withdraw that appeal, as it was liable to cause trouble.
Being a lover of peace rather than war, I complied.
In that perhaps I made a mistake.
If I had adhered to my appeal, it might have saved a public impeachment.
Again, I was called upon by one of the Treasury bureaus
to refund some money which had been paid me for mileage by order of the Secretary of War
, on the alleged ground that the Secretary
could not lawfully give me such an order.
I referred the matter to the Secretary
, as one that did not concern me personally, but which involved the dignity of the head of the War Department as compared with that of a subordinate bureau of another department.
The Treasury official soon notified