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[15] case in accordance with military usage. This misunderstanding of military custom produced little more delay than the time consumed by the messenger in bringing me Colonel Jackson's note, and by Major Whiting in going to that officer's quarters from mine.

This little affair is mentioned, only because what seems to me a very exaggerated account of it has been published.1 Governor Letcher had taken possession of Harper's Ferry as soon as possible, and had it occupied by a body of troops commanded by Colonel Kenton Harper--not soon enough, however, to prevent the destruction of the small-arms stored in the armory. The Federal commanding officer, when compelled by the approach of the Virginia troops to abandon the place, set fire to the buildings containing these arms,2 to destroy what he could not save for his government. Soon after being appointed commander-in-chief of the forces of the State, General Lee increased the garrison of Harper's Ferry, and placed Colonel Jackson in command there. On extending its control of military affairs over Virginia, the Confederate Government, as if equally impressed with the importance of the position, made another addition to the troops assembled there — of three regiments and two battalions of infantry. I was also instructed in Montgomery to “take Lynchburg in my route, and to make arrangements there for sending forward to Harper's Ferry such force as I might deem necessary to strengthen my command.” I found no available “force” there, however.

1 In Dabney's “Life of Jackson.”

2 It was said that there were about seventeen thousand of them.

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