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[446] removal. I thought the object of change of position ought to be, facility of uniting all our forces promptly, when McClellan's designs should be developed. It terminated with informal verbal orders to me to fall back as soon as practicable. Nothing was said of positions or routes-proof that the President had not then discovered my ignorance of the country.

The movement was not “hasty.” We were preparing for it fifteen days; in which I wrote to the President five times in relation to those preparations. It would not have been proper to bestow more time upon the preservation of commissary stores. The “vast quantities” (rather more than a sixth of the whole supply) destroyed ought not to have been removed. It would have been too hazardous.

The army was not halted by the President's command. It left Centreville and Bull Run to take position on the south bank of the Rappahannock; and had reached that line before the President knew that it had moved. The position had been prepared by field-works near the railroad-bridge, and a depot of provision. The Chief Commissary was informed early in the winter that, when the army left its present position, its next would be behind the Rappahannock. When the orders to remove public property were given on the 22d of February, the principal staff-officers were informed that the new position of the army would be the south bank of the Rappahannock. The right wing, ordered to Fredericksburg, had taken its position before the main body moved. The President certainly did not stop it.

Colonel A. H. Cole, of the Quartermaster's Department,

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