I watch the daily orders of Adjutant and Inspector-Gen. Cooper. These, when “by command of the Secretary of War,” are intelligible to any one, but not many are by his command. When simply “by order,” they are promulgated by order of the President, without even consulting the Secretary; and they often annul the Secretary's orders. They are edicts, and sometimes thought very arbitrary ones. One of these orders says liquor shall not be introduced into the city; and a poor fellow, the other day, was sentenced to the ball-and-chain for trying to bring hither his whisky from Petersburg. On the same day Gov. Brown, of Georgia, seized liquor in his State, in transitu over the railroad, belonging to the government!
Since the turning over of the passports to Generals Smith and Winder, I have resumed the position where all the letters to the department come through my hands. I read them, make brief statements of their contents, and send them to the Secretary. Thus all sent by the President to the department go through my hands, being epitomized in the same manner.
The new Assistant Secretary, Judge Campbell, has been ordering the Adjutant-General too peremptorily; and so Gen. Cooper has issued an order making Lieut.-Col. Deas an Acting Assistant Secretary of War, thus creating an office in defiance of Congress.
SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 1, p. 181