too apparent to have been overlooked, but the means have been wanting. Without military stores, without the workshops to create them, without the power to import them, necessity, not choice, has compelled us to occupy strong positions and everywhere to confront the enemy without reserve. The county has supposed our armies more numerous than they were, and our munitions of war more extensive than they have been. I have borne reproach in silence because to reply by an exact statement of facts would have exposed our weakness to the enemy. History, when the case is fully understood, will do justice to the men who have most suffered from hasty judgment and unjust censure. Military critics will not say to me, as you do, "your experiment is a failure," but rather wonder at the disproportion between the means and the results.
You inform me that "the highest and most reputable authors" say that "I have not had a Cabinet council for more than four months. " I read your letter to a member of my Cabinet to-day. They were surprised at the extravagance of the falsehood, and did not believe that so much as a week had at any time occurred without a Cabinet consultation. I would like to know who the authors of such stories are. Your own estimate of me, I hope, assured you that I would not, as stated, treat the Secretary of War "as a more clerk; " and if you know Mr. Benjamin you must realize the impossibility of his submitting to degradation at the hands of any one. The opposition here complain that I cling too closely to my Cabinet, not as in your section that they are disregarded; and the only contempt of the sentiments of Congress which is here alleged against me (so far as I have heard) is that their wish for the removal of two or more members be added dissatisfaction on the part of a few at the promotion or appointment of miliary officers without consulting the members of Congress in relation to them. Against the unfounded story that I keep the generals of the army in leading strings may be set the frequent complaint that I do not arraign them for what is regarded their failures or misdeeds, and do [not] respond to the popular clamor by displacing commanders upon irresponsible statements. You cite the cases of Generals Johnston and Beauregard, but you have the story remain mutata; and though General Johnston was offended because of his relative rank, he certainly never thought of resigning, and General Beauregard, in a portion of his report which I understand the Congress refused to publish, made a statement for which I asked his authority, but it is surely a slander on him to say that he even considered himself insulted by me.
The grossest ignorance of the law and the facts can alone excuse the statement as to the ill-treatment of General Price by me. His letters do not permit me to believe that he is a party to any such complaint. If, as you inform me, it is "credibly said" that "I have scarcely a friend and not a defender in Congress or in the Army," yet for the sake of our country and its cause I must hope it is falsely so said, as otherwise our fate must be confined to a multitude of hypocrites. It would be easy to justify the appointments which have been made of brigadier-generals by stating the reasons in each case, but suffice it to say that I have endeavored to avoid bad selections by relying on military rather than political recommendations, and upon the evidence of service where the case was one of promotion. It is easy to say that men are proscribed because of their political party. Look for yourself and judge by the men filling the offices whether I have applied