arrival of Colonel Allston, the inspector-general of the department the effect, however unintentional, of whose presence in this district has been to loose in many important particulars the discipline of persons of my command.
I have received information from Colonel Sulakowski that Colonel Allston has pronounced, in the presence of the subordinate engineers his work useless, and thereby destroyed in a great measure the interest in the works and the zeal in their formation which the subordinate engineers ought to feel.
I have given orders to Captain [E. C.] Wharton, clothing department, not to issue to State troops as their term of service was uncertain but when I left to go to the front, I ordered him to issue to soldiers of State troops who were in a destitute condition, upon the approval of Major Cave. Colonel Allston is alleged to have pronounced this illegal and improper, and Captain Wharton informed me in person that Colonel Allston asked him why he obeyed this order, and [said] that he ought to disobey that, and instructed him to refer the subject of Major Cave's approval to him, which was done, with what intent and effect I know not. The result of all is that Major Cave requested to be relieved at once from the further organization of the State troops. I ordered Captain Wharton to report to me in person in the field, and to give an explanation of his conduct in referring any order of mine to anybody before obeying it.
Of course, none know better than myself that I cannot confer rank, and this arrangement did not imply it. Major Cave's approval was to prevent imposition on the clothing department, as he knew better than any one else the cases of real destitution among the State troops.
I have received a letter from Colonel Allston, a copy of which is inclosed,* by which it will be seen that I am requested to have turned over to my provost-marshal the sum of $500, placed by Colonel Allston in the hands of Major Kearny, as Colonel Allston thinks it absolutely necessary. He also states that he has cautioned Major Hyllested not to proceed except on sufficient data, and further requests me to appoint my inspector-general.
The control over the troops and officers, difficult at best, is rendered more so by this interference of Colonel Allston, whom I have given every facility to inspect, but I can act only in obedience to your orders through your adjutant-general (as you have intimated to me) and in accordance with your wishes, when made known to me by such means as you prescribed.
These you have officially prescribed to be through your adjutant-general.
I consider Colonel Allston's letter as unjust and injurious to Major Kearny, whom I have tried and know to be a most excellent officer; and, in short, I think he was sent to report to you, but not to regulate the affairs of my command, except through you. I have, however, for-borne with Colonel Allston, knowing that his influence was unfortunate, to say the least, out of my great respect for you both personally and officially. I inclose my answer+ to his last better.
I shall support you cordially and honestly, whatever may happen, but surrounded as I am by traitors, harassed by deserters and mutineers, with a powerful enemy in my front and on my flank, I don't think I should have my mind disturbed by these little interferences of Colonel Allston. He has been now some four months at Houston or in the immediate neighborhood.
+Of December 21, p. 518.
34 R-VOL XXVI, PT II