War of the Rebellion: Serial 066 Page 0630 S. C., FLA., AND ON THE GA. COAST. Chapter XLVII.

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quotes the authority of the commanding general to ascertain whether the order was authorized by the commanding general before obeying it. Major-General Jones, though temporarily absent from his habitual headquarters in Charleston, was still within the geographical limits of his command (the Department of South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida), and Brigadier-General Ripley was not the next ranking officer in that command even had General Jones been without its limits, and it was an assumption of authority on the part of General Ripley to claim to command in such absence, which he appears to have done in this instance. The insubordination manifested by General Ripley on this occasion, and the violence displayed by him in seeking to control the action of the staff officers of General Jones, leaves, in my judgment, no other action in the case than at once to relieve General Ripley from his present assignment in the Department of South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida.


Adjutant and Inspector General.

[Third indorsement.]

OCTOBER 7, 1864.

Respectfully submitted to the President.

I concur in the opinions of the Adjutant-General on this letter.



[Fourth indorsement.]

OCTOBER 25, 1864.

The case does not appear to me quite clear. If General Ripley had learned from the staff officer before the order was issued that it did not emanate from General Jones, he was not bound to obey it. A commanding general may give instructions to a staff officer which include a certain discretion, but cannot authorize him generally to issue orders according to the staff officer's judgment, unless his rank be such that the command devolves upon him when his chief is absent. If the conclusion, that because of his insubordination General Ripley should be removed, be warranted by the facts, then he should be arrested and brought before a court, not relieved for or by assignment to another command.


CHARLESTON, S. C., September 25, 1864.

Major General SAMUEL JONES,

Commanding Dept. of S. C., Ga., and Fla., Charleston, S. C.:

GENERAL: The President has ordered me (verbally) to repair to Charleston and await further orders, meanwhile to inquire into the difficulty between yourself and Brigadier-General Ripley, and to examine the condition of the defenses and troops at and about Charleston, assisted by my chief engineer, Colonel D. B. Harris, and chief inspector, Lieutenant Colonel A. Roman. The former is then to remain on duty with you until further orders as inspector of fortifications and adviser in that branch of the service. You will please issue, accordingly, all necessary orders to carry out the views of the President.

Respectfully, your obedient servant,