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[440] but one who would not surrender territory without disputing its possession.

He (the President) adds that upon no consideration could he be induced, over his own signature, to intrust Johnston again with the command of an army.

1. My opinion of Harper's Ferry was thus expressed in my report to the Administration:

Its garrison was out of position to defend the Valley, or to prevent General McClellan's junction with General Patterson. These were the obvious and important objects to be kept in view. Besides being in position for them, it was necessary to be able, on emergency, to join General Beauregard.

The occupation of Harper's Ferry by our army perfectly suited the enemy's views. We were bound to a fixed point. His movements were unrestricted. These views were submitted to the military authorities. The continued occupation of the place was, however, deemed by them indispensable.

The practicable roads from the west and northwest, as well as from Manassas, meet the routes from Pennsylvania and Maryland at Winchester. That was therefore, in my opinion, our best position.

General E. Kirby Smith wrote to me as follows, May 28, 1867:

From the date of assuming command at Harper's Ferry to your evacuation of the place, you always expressed the conviction that, with the force under your command, the position was weak and untenable.... My recollection is that, after assuming command, you reported to General Lee against the occupation of Harper's Ferry, and that authority

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E. Kirby Smith (1)
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