The discussion was understood to be strictly confidential; yet, on reaching the hotel, going directly from the President
's office, I was asked by Colonel Pender
, Sixth North Carolina regiment, just arrived in the city on his way to the army, after leave of absence, if I had heard a report that he had found in that house, that the cabinet had been discussing that day the question of withdrawing the army from the line then occupied.
On my way back to Centreville
next day, I met an acquaintance from the county of Fauquier
, too deaf to hear conversation not intended for his ear, who gave me the same information that he had heard, he said, the evening before.
This extraordinary proof of the indiscretion of the members of the cabinet, or of some one of them, might have taught the danger of intrusting to that body any design the success of which depended upon secrecy.
On the 22d orders were given to the chiefs of the quartermaster's and subsistence departments to remove the military property in the depots at Manassas Junction
and its dependencies, to Gordonsville
, as quickly as possible; and the president and superintendent of the Orange and Alexandria Railroad were requested to work it to its utmost capacity for that object.
To expedite the operation, as well as for the probability of their being required near that point, Colonel Cole
was instructed to have a portion of his stores deposited at Orange Court-House
A supply for ten days had been placed previously at Culpepper Court-House, for the contingency of the occupation of the line of the Rappahannock
by the army.