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[131]

It is fair to state that at the very first meeting of the committee “it was agreed that, as a matter of honor, none of its members should reveal any thing that transpired in committee until such time as the injunction of secrecy should be removed;” but such a determination, by the cloud of mystery it threw around their proceedings, could only give rise to conjectures probably more injurious in their influence than the truth would have been if fully revealed. Besides, Congressional committees are human, and not hermetically sealed against the transmission of that kind of knowledge which has the charm of being forbidden.

Nor did the committee confine themselves to the task of taking and recording testimony, and the free discussion in their own room of military plans and movements, but, as they say in their Report, “they were in constant communication with the President and his Cabinet, and neglected no opportunity of at once laying before them the information acquired by them in the course of their investigations.” It is fair to presume that they gave advice as well as information; and, indeed, the journal of their proceedings shows that they did; and their advice was probably of weight in the conduct of the campaign. The following is an extract from the journal of the committee:--

February 26, 1862.
Pursuant to previous arrangement, the committee waited upon the President at eight o'clock on Tuesday evening, February 25. They made known to the President that, having examined many of the highest military


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