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but it ought not to have been very difficult to correct such errors. It was easier to take away all administrative authority and all command over the general staff of the army, and the latter course was adopted. The ancient controversy was up to 1888 no nearer settlement than it was in 1869, though in General Sheridan's time some progress had been made in the persistent efforts to deprive the general-in-chief of the little authority which had been left to General Sherman. General Sheridan had, with his usual gallantry and confidence, renewed the contest, but had been worsted in his first encounter with the Secretary, and then gave up the struggle. Upon my assignment to the command of the army in 1888, I determined to profit so far as possible by the unsatisfactory experience of Generals Scott, Grant, Sherman, and Sheridan—at least so far as to avoid further attempts to accomplish the impossible, which attempts have usually the result of accomplishing little or nothing. In fact,
August 1st, 1867 AD (search for this): chapter 22
n from Secretary Stanton due recognition of his rightful authority as general commanding the army, but with no permanent effect. Grant's Memoirs, Vol. II, pp. 104, 105; Sherman's Memoirs, second edition Vol. II, pp. 446-450. General Grant opposed the removal of Mr. Stanton by the exercise of the President's prerogative alone, for the reason, with others, that such action would be in violation of the Tenure-of-Office Act. See General Grant's letter to President Andrew Johnson, August 1, 1867, in McPherson's History of Reconstruction, p. 307. He also objected at first to either removal or suspension, mainly for fear that an objectionable appointment might be made in Stanton's place. See General Grant's letter to President Andrew Johnson, February 3, 1868, in McPherson's History of Reconstruction, p. 286. But those two objections being removed by Johnson's tender of the appointment to Grant himself, vice Stanton suspended instead of removed, General Grant gave his full cou
January 22nd, 1868 AD (search for this): chapter 22
llowed between Grant and Johnson, the second attempt to remove Stanton in February, 1868, and the consequent impeachment of the President, totally eclipsed the more distant and lesser controversy between Grant and Stanton, and, doubtless, prevented Grant from taking the action in respect to Stanton's removal which he informed me in Richmond he intended to take. The records of the Peabody trustees show that their meeting in Richmond, when General Grant was present, occurred January 21 and 22, 1868. Of the impeachment and trial of President Johnson it is not my province to write. My special knowledge relates only to its first cause, above referred to, and its termination, both intimately connected with the history of the War Department, the necessities of which department, real or supposed, constituted the only vital issue involved in the impeachment trial. The following memorandum, made by me at the time, and now published with the consent of Mr. Evarts, explains the circumstan
May, 1868 AD (search for this): chapter 22
erred to, and its termination, both intimately connected with the history of the War Department, the necessities of which department, real or supposed, constituted the only vital issue involved in the impeachment trial. The following memorandum, made by me at the time, and now published with the consent of Mr. Evarts, explains the circumstances under which I became Secretary of War in 1868, and the connection of that event with the termination of the impeachment trial: memorandum May, 1868. In compliance with a written request from Mr. W. M. Evarts, dated Tuesday, April 21, 1868, 2 P. M., I called upon that gentleman in his room at Willard's Hotel, Washington, a few minutes before three o'clock P. M. of the same day. Mr. Evarts introduced conversation by saying something about the approaching trial of Mr. Jefferson Davis, but quickly said that was not what he wished to see me about. The business upon which he wished to see me was of vastly greater importance, involvi
January 21st, 1868 AD (search for this): chapter 22
immediately followed between Grant and Johnson, the second attempt to remove Stanton in February, 1868, and the consequent impeachment of the President, totally eclipsed the more distant and lesser controversy between Grant and Stanton, and, doubtless, prevented Grant from taking the action in respect to Stanton's removal which he informed me in Richmond he intended to take. The records of the Peabody trustees show that their meeting in Richmond, when General Grant was present, occurred January 21 and 22, 1868. Of the impeachment and trial of President Johnson it is not my province to write. My special knowledge relates only to its first cause, above referred to, and its termination, both intimately connected with the history of the War Department, the necessities of which department, real or supposed, constituted the only vital issue involved in the impeachment trial. The following memorandum, made by me at the time, and now published with the consent of Mr. Evarts, explains
January, 1868 AD (search for this): chapter 22
terim, and has notified me that he has accepted the appointment, I have no alternative but to submit, under protest, to superior force. McPherson's History of Reconstruction, pp. 261, 262. In 1866, 1867, and 1868 General Grant talked to me freely several times of his differences with Secretary Stanton. His most emphatic declaration on that subject, and of his own intended action in consequence, appears from the records to have been made after Stanton's return to the War Office in January, 1868, when his conduct was even more offensive to Grant than it had been before Stanton's suspension in August, 1867, and when Grant and Sherman were trying to get Stanton out of the War Office. Sherman's Memoirs, second edition, Vol. II, pp. 422-424. At the time of General Grant's visit to Richmond, Va., as one of the Peabody trustees, he said to me that the conduct of Mr. Stanton had become intolerable to him, and, after asking my opinion, declared in emphatic terms his intention to de
February, 1868 AD (search for this): chapter 22
irs, second edition, Vol. II, pp. 422-424. At the time of General Grant's visit to Richmond, Va., as one of the Peabody trustees, he said to me that the conduct of Mr. Stanton had become intolerable to him, and, after asking my opinion, declared in emphatic terms his intention to demand either the removal of Stanton or the acceptance of his own resignation. But the bitter personal controversy which immediately followed between Grant and Johnson, the second attempt to remove Stanton in February, 1868, and the consequent impeachment of the President, totally eclipsed the more distant and lesser controversy between Grant and Stanton, and, doubtless, prevented Grant from taking the action in respect to Stanton's removal which he informed me in Richmond he intended to take. The records of the Peabody trustees show that their meeting in Richmond, when General Grant was present, occurred January 21 and 22, 1868. Of the impeachment and trial of President Johnson it is not my province
owing to what extent, if any, the Senate was influenced by this nomination, but anxiety about the ultimate result seemed to be soon allayed. About a month later a vote was taken in the Senate, and the impeachment failed; my nomination was then confirmed, as stated at the time, by a nearly unanimous vote of the Senate. I entered upon the duties of the office as Secretary of War on the first day of June, and continued to discharge them until a few days after General Grant's inauguration in March. I was greeted very cordially by the President, by all the members of his cabinet, by General Grant, and by a large number of senators who called upon me at the War Department. The duties devolved upon me were often of a very delicate character, and it required at times no little tact to avoid serious trouble. President Johnson's views were sometimes in direct conflict with those which I felt compelled to maintain under the acts of Congress affecting the States lately in rebellion; but
ief of state has generally no military training, and his war minister the same, that a chief of staff of the army is supposed to be unnecessary. While it is easy to understand the reasons which led to the action of the government in the spring of 1864, it is much less easy to understand why some reasonable approximation to that course, as above suggested, and in accord with the practice of all military nations, has never been adopted as a permanent system in this country. Perhaps it may be like conclusion heretofore suggested, namely, that under the government of the United States an actual military commander of the army is not possible, unless in an extreme emergency like that which led to the assignment of Lieutenant-General Grant in 1864; and that the general-in-chief, or nominal commanding general, can at most be only a chief of staff,—that or nothing, —whatever may be the mere title under which he may be assigned to duty by the President. As the first step in the experimental
and informed Stanton that he had done so. Stanton denied the right of the President to suspend him without the consent of the Senate, but wrote to the President, and to the same effect to General Grant: But inasmuch as the general commanding the armies of the United States has been appointed ad interim, and has notified me that he has accepted the appointment, I have no alternative but to submit, under protest, to superior force. McPherson's History of Reconstruction, pp. 261, 262. In 1866, 1867, and 1868 General Grant talked to me freely several times of his differences with Secretary Stanton. His most emphatic declaration on that subject, and of his own intended action in consequence, appears from the records to have been made after Stanton's return to the War Office in January, 1868, when his conduct was even more offensive to Grant than it had been before Stanton's suspension in August, 1867, and when Grant and Sherman were trying to get Stanton out of the War Office. S
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