War of the Rebellion: Serial 089 Page 1168 OPERATIONS IN SE. VA. AND N. C. Chapter LIV.

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responsibilities and the rules governing officers of different grades, I feel satisfied you could not expect the Adjutant and Inspector General is his own right to decide a question which belongs exclusively to the Executive. It is impossible to recollect the detail of conversation which occur daily, I may say hourly, with persons who seek interviews with me in my office. As your brother represents, I am prepared to admit your zeal, energy, and faithfulness to the cause, but must be permitted to deny that he had any authority from me to state I had given the promise, the fulfillment of which you have claimed as a condition precedent to the acceptance of your positive assignment. The promise, let me repeat, could only be given (as from your knowledge of the usage of the service you must know) by the President.

Very respectfully, general, your obedient servant,


Adjutant and Inspector General.

[Inclosure Numbers 9.]

CHARLESTON, S. C., April 9, 1864.

General S. COOPER,

Adjutant and Inspector General:

Your letter of the 4th instant has just been received. You are perfectly right in your view that an expression of undiminished confidence could only be given by the direction and sanction of His Excellency the President. That is the quarter from which it is expected, and from which, with all deference, I suggest it is due. My brother, Colonel W. R. Hill, stated both to His Excellency and to yourself the only condition upon which I would accept a tendered service, namely, that an expression of undiminished confidence in my capacity, gallantry, and fidelity should accompany the order assigning me to command. If it was not the intention to comply with the condition, a frank and an unequivocal refusal was imperatively demanded. All candid men will recognize in the assignment to duty an acceptance of the terms proposed. But the matter does no rest merely upon this tacit but unmistakable agreement. When Colonel Hill made known to His Excellency the President, that an expression of undiminished confidence was an essential condition to my acceptance of command, he replied that he saw no objection to granting it, and that he would see the Adjutant-General in reference to it. Colonel Hill saw you next day after an interview with His Excellency upon this subject. The unavoidable conclusion was that you spoke with the Executive sanction when you said-

Tell General Hill that anything which will soothe his pride as a soldier shall be granted him. Tell him to write, or even telegraph, the order which he wishes.

There can be no doubt that the original intention was to comply with my terms. What adverse influence changed that purpose can only be the subject of conjecture. I telegraphed from Charlotte, N. C., on the 23rd of February, that I would not assume command here until the clear record promised me was granted. If the change of intention took place before that time it is unfortunate that I was not telegraphed to not to go to Charleston. It would doubtless be useless in me to discuss with you the propriety of "the condition precedent to acceptance of a position." You may be correct in your statement. "that to express in orders undiminished confidence in an office would be unprecedented in military history." But it may be equally unprecedented in history that an officer who had fought his way up to the highest rank in the Provis-