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[445]

I was not ignorant of the country. I had studied it carefully, and had selected and prepared a position for the army behind the Rappahannock. But, if it had been otherwise, I had the usual resource of generals — a good map, which would have shown me by what routes to march, and where to halt.

Engineers were not sent to the army at the time (before the consultation) nor for the object asserted, but in consequence of an application by me, repeated after the consultation,1 and they reported about the 3d of March, when an attempt by them to make a map of the country would have been absurd, if they had been competent to such work. On that subject, Captain Powhatan Robinson, their commander, wrote to me October 6, 1869: “I reported to you on the 1st or 2d of March. The rest of the topographical corps reported to me afterward. As regards the efficiency of the party, Lieutenant Heinrichs and myself were the only ones who had any experience in sketching topography, and, this being our first essay in the military line, we were ridiculously minute, and consequently very slow. I left Manassas March 3d, on my reconnaissance to the Rappahannock; I taking the upper route, and sending Lieutenant Randolph, who had just reported, by the lower. I reported to you on the 6th, at Centreville; received orders on the 7th to prepare Rappahannock Bridge for the passage of trains. The bridge was completed Tuesday morning (11th), just as the trains came up.”

In the consultation, the President seemed to think that the army was exposed, and desired its

1 February 22d.

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