Theodore Roosevelt and His Time Shown in His Own Letters - Vol. 1

By Joseph Bucklin Bishop | Go to book overview
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CHAPTER XVI
CONTROVERSIES WITH GENERAL MILES

AN incident which excited much attention and varying comment occurred in December, 1901, during the prolonged controversy between Admirals Sampson and Schley concerning the conduct of the latter in the naval battle of Santiago during the war with Spain. The Naval Court of Inquiry, which investigated the case, made a report on December 16, which was adverse to Schley. In a published interview on December 17, General Nelson A. Miles, who was then the Lieutenant-General of the army, its highest officer, condemned the finding of the Court and upheld Schley's side in the controversy. He was rebuked officially by the Secretary of War, Elihu Root, for this expression on the ground that it was in violation of the army regulations which forbid expression by military men of opinions of any kind, either of praise or censure, in matters of the kind. The President approved the order of rebuke. General Miles went to the White House to protest to the President, and was shown into the reception room, where he found the President in conversation with a number of persons. Striding up to the President, and interrupting the conversation, the General said: "Mr. President, I have come here to protest against that order of Secretary Root." Before he could get any further, the President, noticing his excited condition, said quietly: "Step into the Cabinet room, General, and I will see you there presently." Instead of heeding this request, the General said again, loudly for all to hear: "Mr. President, I am here to protest, etc." Again the President said, this time impressively: "General, I advise you to step into the Cabinet room!" Again the General declined to do so, repeating his previous utter

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