were to unite at Winchester
; and this report was confirmed by the Northern
It was necessary, of course, that the Confederate
troops in the Valley
should always be ready to meet this invasion, as well as to unite quickly with the army at Manassas Junction
, whenever it might be threatened by General McDowell
's. At Harper's Ferry
, they were manifestly out of position for either object, for Patterson
's route from Chambersburg
lay through Williamsport
— a long day's march to the west; and the only direct road thence to Manassas Junction
was completely under the enemy's control.
was obnoxious to neither objection, but, on the contrary, fulfilled the conditions desired better than any other point.
The commanders on both sides, in the subsequent military operations in that region, seem to have appreciated its importance, and to have estimated its value as I did, except those who disposed the forces of the United States
in September, 1862, when eleven thousand men, placed at Harper's Ferry
as a garrison, were captured, almost without resistance, by General Lee
's troops, coming from Maryland.
My objections to Harper's Ferry
as a position, and to the idea of making a garrison instead of an active force of the troops intrusted with the defense of that district, were expressed to the proper authorities in letters dated May 26th and 28th, and June 6th, and replied to by General Lee1
on the 1st and 7th of June.
These letters of his express the