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In the discussion that followed, General Randolph, who had been a naval officer, objected to the plan proposed, because it included at least the temporary abandonment of Norfolk, which would involve the probable loss of the materials for many vessels-of-war, contained in the navy-yard there. General Lee opposed it, because he thought that the withdrawal from South Carolina and Georgia of any considerable number of troops would expose the important seaports of Charleston and Savannah to the danger of capture. He thought, too, that the Peninsula had excellent fields of battle for a small army contending with a great one, and that we should for that reason make the contest with McClellan's army there. General Longstreet took little part, which I attributed to his deafness. I maintained that all to be accomplished, by any success attainable on the Peninsula, would be to delay the enemy two or three weeks in his march to Richmond, for the reasons already given; and that success would soon give us back every thing temporarily abandoned to achieve it, and would be decisive of the war, as well as of the campaign.

At six o'clock the conference was adjourned by the President, to meet in his house at seven. The discussion was continued there, although languidly, until 1 A. M., when it ceased, and the President, who previously had expressed no opinion on the question, announced his decision in favor of General Lee's opinion, and directed that Smith's and Longstreet's divisions should join the Army of the Peninsula, and ordered me to go there and take command, the

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