ivision to which my assignment had been ordered.
When death had finally relieved him from duty, and not till then, did I consent to be his successor.
In 1879 I had the satisfaction, after many months of patient investigation, of rendering justice to the other of those two unrelenting soldiers who, of all the thirteen, could not find it in their hearts to recommend clemency to an erring youth: I was president of the board which reversed the judgment of the court-martial in the case of Fitz-John Porter.
I believe it must now be fully known to all who are qualified to judge and have had by personal association or by study of history full opportunities to learn the truth, that General Thomas did not possess in a high degree the activity of mind necessary to foresee and provide for all the exigencies of military operations, nor the mathematical talent required to estimate the relations of time, space, motion, and force involved in great problems of war. His well-known high qualities i
must be accepted without question.
I hope, therefore, it is not asking too much to request you to give me, in a form which I may use publicly, a full and explicit statement of the facts in respect to this accusation.
Perhaps you may also be able to recall the substance of a conversation between you and me, on the subject of the delay of Thomas to attack Hood at Nashville, which occurred on the naval steamer on our way from Hampton Roads to Cape Fear River, when we went down to see Admiral Porter and General Terry while my troops were delayed by the ice in the Potomac.
In that conversation I tried to justify Thomas's delay during the storm at Nashville, and, I thought, perhaps succeeded in modifying to some extent your opinion on the subject.
If you are able to recollect the substance of that conversation, a statement of it would be an effective answer to the malicious charges that I was not faithful to Thomas as my commanding officer.
Not knowing where you may be when thi
by a judicious distribution and division of duty, authority, and responsibility in military operations on a large scale.
This being done under one common, competent head, to whom all subordinates are alike responsible, the military system becomes as nearly perfect as possible.
While the transports were detained by an ice blockade in the Potomac, I joined General Grant at Fort Monroe, and went with him on the war-steamer Rhode Island to Cape Fear River, where we met General Terry and Admiral Porter, discussed the military situation, and decided on the general plan of operations for the capture of the defenses of Cape Fear River and the city of Wilmington, and subsequent operations.
On our return to Fort Monroe, I proceeded to Washington, and sailed with the advance of the Twenty-third Corps, arriving at the mouth of Cape Fear River on February 9, 1865, where we joined General Terry, who with two divisions had already captured Fort Fisher.
I was then assigned to command the new de
Will you accept the superintendency of the military academy at West Point?
I advise it. Your rank and history will elevate it and solve all trouble.
Admiral Porter's example at Annapolis is suggested as precedent.
The President, Secretary Taft, and I are unanimous on the wisdom and propriety of it. Advise me of your dee assignment to West Point.
But very soon after my arrival in the East I found that I was also expected to preside over a board of review in the case of General Fitz-John Porter and in that of Surgeon-General William A. Hammond; and that my junior in rank, MajorGen-eral Irvin McDowell, could not be given a command appropriate to est Point had not been considered of so vital importance, since it would not interfere with the all-important revision of the army regulations, and the retrial of Porter and Hammond.
But I had given my consent, though under erroneous impressions as to the reasons and necessity, to what my superiors desired, and hence determined
er the passage of a bill by Congress, General Fitz-John Porter was restored to the army, as colonel,
When I was in the War Department in 1868, General Porter had come to me with a request that I wouldis view of the issue was fully accepted by General Porter and his counsel.
This caused a new and peconsistent with the theory or supposition that Porter was guilty.
When the evidence was all in, tssed an opinion in condemnation of that, which Porter's counsel very frankly admitted to be just.
course of that long and earnest effort to find Porter guilty,—for that is what the effort was in effthe general courtmar-tial which tried General Fitz-John Porter were not justified by the evidence beons of the opposing armies, as well as that of Porter's own conduct, which had been presented to, anuction of unanswerable arguments in support of Porter's condemnation.
At that time neither Generaty in the great efforts he had made to convict Porter on the floor of the Senate, and his explanatio[2 more...]
one of the causes of, 75
Annapolis, Md., Adm. Porter becomes superintendent of Naval Academy at,red to join the Army of the Potomac, 116; Fitz-John Porter's despatches to, 462
Bushwhackers, in t under his administration, 423; restores Fitz-John Porter to the army, 460; assigns S. to the commaaj.-Gen. George W., on board of review of Fitz-John Porter case, 461
Gettysburg, Pa., Federal armand capture of Lee, 303, 329 et seq., 347-349; Porter's mission to Sherman from, 306; plan for ShermMissouri of rebels, 358, 359; the case of Fitz-John Porter and, 461, 462
Popular government, education the foundation of, 533
Porter, Adm. David D., trip by Grant and S. to visit, 294, 295; in mtration of his attitude toward Hood, 305, 306; Porter's mission from Grant to, 306.; Hood's raid in st Point, 446, 447; on board of review of Fitz-John Porter case, 461; his military education, rise, y officers, 449, 453, 481; restoration of Fitz-John Porter, 460, 465; reforms in the War Department,[2 more...]