As an officer of the regular army he has a thorough contempt for what he calls "political generals," the men who use their influence with President and Congress to obtain military rank, which in time of war places them before the public in the front of events, and gives them an appearance of leading in the greatest of all political movements. Nor is General McDowell enamored of volunteers, for he served in Mexico, and has from what he saw there formed
As proof of the low standard established in his army, he mentioned that some officers of considerable rank were more than suspected of selling rations, and of illicit connections with sutlers for purposes of pecuniary advantage. The General walked back with me as far as my lodgings, and I observed that not one of the many soldiers he passed in the streets saluted him, though his rank was indicated by his velvet collar and cuffs, and a gold star on the shoulder strap.
Having written some letters, I walked out with Captain Johnson and one of the attaches of the British Legation, to the lawn at the back of the White House, and listened to the excellent band of the United States Marines, playing on a kind of dais under the large flag recently hoisted by the President himself, in the garden. The occasion was marked by rather an ominous event. As the President pulled the halyards and the flag floated aloft, a branch of a tree caught the bunting and tore it, so that a number of the stars and stripes were detached and hung dangling beneath the rest of the flag, half detached from the staff.