There is nothing a just and honest man can do which I do not feel a conscious willingness to attempt, nothing an Honorable mind can bear I do not feel willing to endure, to serve the country and her cause, and to obey the wishes of the Administration. In all these military matters I regard myself a servant, though with some discretionary powers, and in the sphere of my proper subordination obedience is my pleasure as well as my duty, but in the sphere of my proper and lawful discretion, although limited and inferior, I must still use my own discretion cautiously and respectfully, I grant, but yet with firmness and fidelity.
I am, with great respect, your friend and servant,
JOHN A. ANDREW.
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF NEW ENGLAND, Boston, December 28, 1861.
His Excellency JOHN A. ANDREW:
GOVERNOR: On my return home, at the earliest possible moment I reply in person to your note, in the character of a citizen.
The official reply sent by Major Strong I approve and ordered as covering the points upon which I believed a discourtesy had been done by your military secretary, with whom personally, for reasons appearing to me sufficient, I had refused to hold further correspondence.
I have read the letter in reply from your military secretary and do not propose to reply to it at length.
Having enrolled yourself by your own act in the "U. S. Army of Massachusetts Volunteers," the evidence of which I send herewith, I though it at least no discourtesy to treat you as my equal in the assimilated rank, which could be given you by courtesy only, especially in a correspondence upon military matters, and to ask of you a like courtesy. You wiy, take the public and published honors of enrollment in the U. S. Army of Massachusetts Volunteers without incurring the corresponding obligations of courtesy and responsibility; and while I never supposed that for any violations of regulations of the War Department the Governor of Massachusetts could be deposed, yet I do believe that for such violations he will be likely to have his assumptions of command of those volunteers, either at home or on the lines of the Potomac, signally rebuked. Of this, I believe, you have had some experience.
I shall not notice further either the matter on the manner of that note, save to say that I disclaim most emphatically any intentional or even accidental discourtesy to the Governor of Massachusetts. I have by far too high a respect for the office to wish to aid in lowering its dignity.
In the matter of the address in quotation I but copied the address assumed by one of the numerous military secretaries who write me on behalf of the Governor, and it was because of the formality of that address. "His Exc Andrew" is neither a "baptismal, inherited, or constitutional" title, and, after using it once in the letter alluded to, I carefully used the little of the constitution, and marked in quotation to call attention to the difference.
I was the more careful to use the third person in the letter, because I was asking a favorable consideration to a request, and in that case I am not taught to sign the rank with which I have been honored. The major-generals of the United States seldom officially ask favors. You will also observe that therein I used the third person in speaking of myself. May I call your attention to the fact that the rules in regard