, on the turnpike through Winchester
The orders of the Government
required the destruction of all that could not be brought away.
It has been said1
somewhat hastily, and I think harshlly, that those who had the power to seize and remove this property committed a gross blunder by failing to send it to Winchester
by railroad from Harper's Ferry
before the evacuation of that place.
This charge falls upon the Executives of the State
and of the Confederacy
, and the military commanders
, General Jackson
I presume that all were governed by the same considerations-those that directed my course.
It would have been criminal as well as impolitic on our part to commit such an act of war against citizens of Maryland
, when we were receiving aid from the State
then, and hoping for its accession to the Confederacy
The seizure of that property by us could have been justified only by the probability of its military use by the enemy.
Such a probability did not appear, of course, until after our evacuation of Harper's Ferry
Besides, at the time in question, the Winchester Railroad and its rolling-stock were required exclusively for the transportation of property far more valuable to the Confederacy
than engines and cars — the machinery of the armory.
There was another cogent reason, the engines of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad were too heavy for use on the other, or even to pass over it, especially near the Shenandoah
, where it rests on trestles.
While at Harper's Ferry
I was prevented from attempting to use them in the removal of the machinery by the remonstrances of the engineers of