bound to obey your military orders.
But this is a civil office, a purely diplomatic duty that you offer me, and I cannot be compelled to undertake it. Any legal military order you give me I will obey; but this is civil and not military; and I decline the duty.
No power on earth can compel me to it.’
He said not another word.
No one replied; and he left the Cabinet chamber
He returned immediately to his headquarters, and recited all that had occurred.
I took down his words at the time, and read him afterward this account, which he approved.
Even after this scene a copy of his instructions was sent to him through the Secretary of War
, who was directed to request him to proceed to Mexico
But he wrote a second letter declining positively the duty assigned him. Meanwhile Sherman
had written to him to come directly to his house, and there explained the situation; he told his great subordinate of the plot to get rid of himself, and declared that he was determined to disobey the order and stand the consequences.
then paid his visit to the President
He was informed that Grant
was to be sent to Mexico
, and that he was to command the army in the absence of the General-in-chief
assured the President
that Grant would not go
, and said very flatly that Johnson
could not afford to quarrel with Grant
at that time.
He declared he could himself be easier spared than Grant
The country was full of rumors of the object of Sherman
's visit; if the real purpose was abandoned it was necessary to contrive some excuse for sending for him. This Sherman
's own suggestion afforded.
In a day or two Grant
was directed to turn over his instructions to Sherman
, who was sent to Mexico
in his stead, on the United States
, Captain Alden
As the vessel left New York harbor, Sherman
turned to Alden
and said: ‘My mission is already ended.
By substituting myself I ’