The order directs a certain officer to report to me for instructions with reference to executing certain duties in vicinity of Abingdon, Va.
Fourth. I had a right to expect in the face of such frequent recognition of my authority that it was contemplated I should continue its exercise until I received some notice that it was recalled.
Fifth. It was not notified to me that my authority was recalled until the 20th ultimo, since which time I have not attempted to exercise it.
Sixth. My permission to Colonel Malone was dated the 14th ultimo. It did not deprive this army of a soldier. It was an exercise of my authority within the just limits specified in my argument of the 26th. The arrest of Colonel Malone and his detention until this time, as far as I have been advised-he not having committed any offense against military or civil law, and being in the discharge of duties assigned him by the War Department-is a violation of his rights, and shows an unnecessary disregard of my separate authority as a department commander and of the orders of the War Department.
The above constitute some of the reasons why your action in reference to Colonel Malone should be overruled by superior authority. It is my duty, therefore, to the officer who is suffering detention from my action to make the appeal in his behalf.
If it were consistent with my rights as a junior officer, holding the commission of my Government, I would gladly withdraw my appeal from your action on my note of the 25th. It came back to me with an indorsement from your headquarters of "Returned," without further comment. That indorsement must imply one of two things: Either that the letter contains something so flagrant in its opposition to military propriety or discipline that a simple inspection will reveal the cause of its return; or that the respectful representations of a junior were sent back with insulting contempt.
On reconsidering my note, I fail to discover that it was obnoxious in the first particular. I certainly did not intend it to be disrespectful. I repelled in a manner which my self-respect required an unjust insinuation as to my having improperly assumed authority. In doing so I may have stated a fact which was not agreeable to be recalled, but the statement of a fact is not an act of disrespect. Rightly read, the letter appeals for a degree of frankness which will bring about such an understanding as will enable me to discharge my duty with satisfaction to my commander. I think that your act of returning the paper in the manner in which you did was a disregard of one of the rights of juniority, and unless the act should be recalled by yourself, its correctness or impropriety should be judged of by our common superiors, for the courtesies of the profession are as binding upon you as upon me, and my silent submission to such discourtesy, if it be such, as I am satisfied it is, would show me to be deficient in a quality which every soldier and every gentleman should possess, and without which I might merit your contempt.
In my correspondence with your headquarters I have found great difficulty in attracting attention to the distinctions I have sought to draw in reference to the exercise, to a very limited extent, of my departmental authority. Powers, when once conferred, remain until properly recalled. The authority which you complain I have been usurping was conferred both by you and by the War Department. By many acts you recognized its existence with me-certainly as late as the 9th ultimo. By your subsequent silence you