but not so full as in your letter. You have probably seen the attempt in the newspapers to create difficulties and jealousies between me and General Grant. This is all for political effect. There is not the slightest ground for any such assertions. There cannot and will not be any differences between us. If he is made lieutenant-general, as I presume he will be, I shall most cordially welcome him to the command, glad to be relieved from so thankless and disagreeable a position. I took it against my will, and shall be most happy to leave it as soon as another is designated to fill it. The great difficulty in the office of General-in-Chief is, that it is not understood by the country. The responsibility and odium thrown upon it does not belong to it. I am simply a military adviser of the Secretary of War and the President, and must obey and carry out what they decide upon, whether I concur in their decisions or not. As a good soldier I obey the orders of my superiors. If I disagree with them in opinion I say so, but when they decide it is my duty faithfully to carry out their decision. Moreover, I cannot say to the public I approve this and I disapprove that. I have no right to say this, as it might embarrass the execution of a measure fully decided on. My mouth is closed except when officially called on to give such opinion. It is my duty to strengthen the hands of the President as Commander-in-Chief, not to weaken them by factious opposition. I have, therefore, cordially co-operated with him in every plan decided upon, although I have never hesitated to differ in opinion. I must leave it to history to vindicate or condemn my own opinions and plans. They will be found at some future time on record. What we now have to do is to put down this rebellion. We have no time to quibble and contend for the pride of personal opinion. On this subject there seems to be a better feeling among the officers in the West than here. There is less jealousy and back-biting, and a greater disposition to assist each other. Here we have too much party politics and wire-pulling. Everybody wants you to turn a grindstone to grind his particular ax, and if you decline he regards you as an enemy and takes revenge by newspaper abuse.
The rebels will give us much trouble in the spring, and I fear we will not be fully prepared for them. The country does not seem to fully appreciate the vast importance of military operations for the next six months. In my opinion, they will be the most important of the war.
Give my kind regards to McPherson and Hurlbut if they are with you.
H. W. HALLECK.
NEW ALBANY, MISS., February 16, 1864.
Chief of Cavalry, Department of the Tennessee:
SIR: The lieutenant sent to communicate with Colonel Waring reports him to have started from Walker's Mill yesterday morning. He says that the crossing of Tippah would occupy him all day yesterday, so he must still be 20 miles back. His delay will soon defeat our whole enterprise at this rate, as it has already most seriously embarrassed it. The crossing of the slough is this morning in bad order,