army in that connection, saw the most efficient preparations to hold it in progress — the industrious strengthening by me of the intrenchments made by General Gilmer
's wise foresight, and the mounting of heavy rifle-cannon, just brought from Mobile
, on the front toward the enemy.
As to the almost impregnable character of the available positions; General Hardee
wrote in his letter of April 10, 1868, already quoted: “The country between Dalton
is, for the most part, open, intersected by numerous practicable roads, and readily penetrable.
In some portions it is rugged and broken, but the ridges and ranges of hills, where they occur, are neither continuous nor regular enough to afford material advantage for defense.
It offers no advantage to one side not shared by the other.
There are no strongholds in that section, and no positions effectual for defense against largely superior numbers.”
For the manner in which the progress of the enemy was resisted, the dispirited condition of the army, and its want of confidence in me, the reader is referred to General Hardee
's testimony in the letter on pages 365, 366, and General Stewart
's in that on pages 367-369.
's official course toward me, from the commencement of the war to the 17th of July, 1864, strongly contradicts all his statements in the “message.”
If he had believed, when McDowell
was near Manassas
, that I had been exhibiting at Harper's Ferry
, and elsewhere in the Valley
, the singular incapacity for war he describes in the first part of this paper, he could not have ordered me to Manassas
to command in a battle the result of which was to decide