had no knowledge of any impression on your part that you had ceased to control Bragg's army, but, on the contrary, you were clearly informed that you were considered the proper person to withdraw troops from it, if you deemed it judicious.
[XIV.] On the 8th June the Secretary was more explicit, if possible. he said: 8th June, 1863.
Do you advise more re-enforcements from General Bragg? You, as commandant of the department, have power so to order, if you, in view of the whole case, so determine.
[XV.] On the 10th June you answered that it was for the Government to determine what department could furnish the re-enforcements; that you could not know how General Bragg's wants compared with yours, and that the Government could make the comparison.
[XVI.] Your statement that the Government in Richmond was better able to judge of the relative necessities of the armies under your command than you were, and the further statement that you could
know how General Bragg's wants compared with yours, were considered
extraordinary, but as they were accompanied by the remark that the Secretary's dispatch had been imperfectly deciphered, no observation was made on them till the receipt of your telegram to the Secretary, of the 12th instant, stating:
I have not considered myself commanding in Tennessee since assignment here, and should not have felt authorized to take troops from that department after having been informed by the Executive that no more could be spared. 12th June, 1863.
[XVII.] My surprise at these two statements was extreme. You had never been "assigned" to the Mississippi command. You went there under the circumstances and orders already quoted, and no justification whatever is perceived for your abandonment of your duties as commanding general of the geographical district to which you were assigned. orders as explicit as those under which you were sent to the WEST, and under which you continued to act up to the 9th may, when you were directed to repair in person to Mississippi, can only be impaired or set aside by subsequent orders equally explicit, and your announcement that you had ceased to consider yourself charged with the control of affairs in Tennessee because ordered to repair in person to Mississippi, both places being within the command to which you were assigned, was too grave to be overlooked, and, when to this was added the assertion that you should not have felt authorized to draw troops from that department (Tennessee) "after being informed by the executive that no more could be spared," I was unable to account for your language, being entirely confident that I had never givenformation.
[XVIII.] I shall now proceed to separate your two statements, and begin with that which relates to your"not considering" yourself commanding in Tennessee since assignment "here," i. e. K, in Mississippi.
15th June, 1863. [XIX.] When you received my telegram of 15th June, informing you"that the order to go to Mississippi did not diminish your authority in Tennessee, both being in the country placed under your command in original assignment,"accompanied by an inquiry about the information said to have been derived from me restricting your authority to transfer troops, your answer on the 16th June was:
I meant to tell the Secretary of War that I considered the order directing me to command here as limiting my authority to this department, especially when that order was accompanied by War Department orders transferring troops from Tennessee to Mississippi.