Mr. Van Duzer replied that my orders should be obeyed, but immediately removed the operator who had always been at my headquarters office and put in a new man, evidently because the first that done his duty in informing me why my dispatches had been detained. I sent for Mr. Van Duzer and Warned him against making changes at my headquarters in the future without consulting me. I permitted the change to take place, however, notifying Mr. Van Duzer that I would have no person about the office who would not let me know when dispatches could not be sent and the reason why.
Some days after this I was astonished at receiving the following dispatch:
WASHINGTON, November 28, 1862.
All Operators in the Department of the Tennessee:
Mr. J. C. Van Duzer has been assigned to the management of the United States military telegraph lines in the Department of the Tennessee. You will obey instructions received from him. Orders from any other source will not be obeyed.
Colonel and General Superintendent Military Telegraphs.
I was indignant at this interference in my command and the implied charge of interference on my part. I have neither the time nor the inclination to take upon myself the duties of others, and neither proposed to curtail the prerogatives of either Colonel Stager or Mr. Van Duzer; but as commander of the department I see nothing in the order of the Secretary of War referred to in one of these dispatches that leaves the telegraph in this department a distinct institution, that cannot be controlled or directed by the department commander.
Colonel Stager sending this dispatch after my denial of any interference on the part of Colonel Riggin determined me to remove this man, at any rate is entirely unfit for his position, at least in this department. There are some small matters, not mentioned here, against Van Duzer that convince me of his unfitness for the place.
You will oblige me by laying this matter before the Secretary of War as embracing the charges I have against Mr. Van Duzer. I have also to request that some other person be appointed to fill his place. I have so little confidence in the man that unless ordered by some one whose orders I am bound to respect I cannot let him stay in this department.
[U. S. GRANT,]
OXFORD, MISS., December 3, 1862.
Commanding Post at Grand Junction:
Release Mr. Van Duzer on parole, as directed by the Secretary of War.
U. S. GRANT,
HEADQUARTERS ARMY IN THE FIELD,
Abbeville, Miss., December 3, 1862.
Colonel T. LYLE DICKEY,
Commanding Cavalry Division:
Dispatch of 11 o'clock a. m. to-day is received. It was my intention to send the expedition east to strike the Mobile and Ohio Railroad, as