you, that I would not have deemed it necessary to address you the present communication were it not for the concluding paragraph of your letter. This seems to me to require some notice. It is but justice to General Jordan to say that I have not the least idea that he intended to communicate with the War Office through me, or that he intended officially to forward the telegram marked by him "approved." All telegraphic messages touching military operations or movements are required to be submitted to General Beauregard's headquarters, and the indorsement "approved" was merely the permission to the telegraph operator to transmit the message. The inference "that the President's order for the movement of troops should have been furnished to citizens," &c., seems to me too hastily drawn. It is almost impossible for troops to receive orders to move and begin to prepare to do so without its being very speedily known to intelligent citizens in the immediate locality, especially those whose property and families the troops have been protecting.
I cannot suppose that in the use of the words "through a member of Congress," at the conclusion of the sentence in your letter to which I am directing your attention, you meant to imply that citizens had not a right, or that they were guilty of that impropriety in so doing, to communicate, through their immediate Representative in Congress, with any branch or department of the Government, on any matter touching their interests as they might conceive them to be affected by the action of the Government. I have deemed it due to General Jordan, to my constituents, and to myself to make the explanations and express the views herein set forth. I trust sincerely that the withdrawal of so large a portion of the cavalry, upon which the security of two of our most important railroads and a very large portion of food-producing country has hitherto depended, may not lead to any disaster, but I confess I feel great uneasiness.
Regretting that the earnest appeal of the citizens of Charleston who signed the telegram addressed to me, but which I deemed it my duty to lay before you, has failed to produce any effect, I am, with high respect, your obedient servant.
WM. PORCHER MILES.
MARCH 29, 1864.
Referred to General Bragg, as the explanation given by the Honorable W. P. Miles respecting the approval given by General Jordan to the telegram of the citizens may be due to that officer.
This letter is in answer to one written by myself in pursuance of the suggestions of your letter.
J. A. SEDDON,
Secretary of War.
MARCH 31, 1864.
Both Mr. Miles and General Jordan* fail to meet the main objection to the course pursued in this matter. By the official action at department headquarters, information most valuable to the enemy, and which the department here would not have intrusted to the telegraph
*For Jordan's explanation, see March 27,p.379.