War of the Rebellion: Serial 027 Page 0744 OPERATIONS IN N. VA., W. VA., MD., AND PA. Chapter XXXI.

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Question. Were you present at the consultation of officers called together by Colonel Miles in relation to the surrender?

Answer. Yes, sir.

Question. At that consultation was there any difference of opinion as to the necessity which existed?

Answer. No, sir; there was no difference of opinion. A point made, and which all acquiesced in, was to make honorable terms. It seemed to be generally conceded that there was nothing left for us but to surrender or see our men slaughtered without being able to do any public good.

Question. Did you hear Colonel Miles request me to act as the commissioner to negotiate the terms of the surrender?

Answer. Yes, sir; and he requested me to give notice to the enemy's batteries from Rigby's batteries and from a point along the pike.

Question. Is it your opinion, knowing what you do of the character of the troops there at Harper's Ferry being mostly inexperienced troops, that any good result whatever would have attended a further contest?

Answer. No, sir; I believe that whenever the troops rose from their cover - those under my command I had taken great pains to put under cover as much as possible, to prevent the destruction of my men, as they were not able to aid in the destruction of the enemy - the very moment they rose from their position I think there would have been such a destruction of human life without the accomplishment of any public good that we would have been held morally responsible by the country for having permitted it. That is my view of the matter. If I had thoughts there had been a possibility of holding out against the enemy until we were re-enforced, or of defeating the enemy, I would not have consented to surrender of all the men in the universe had asked me to do it. I do not think any officer there if all the men in the universe had asked me to do it. I do not think any officer there would. There was as great anxiety to maintain our position there as I ever saw among any set of officers, and a deep sense of mortification because they could not do it.


Question. How long do you think you could have held out at the time of the surrender?

Answer. I do not think we could have held out an hour. The enemy were then almost within rifle range.

Question. You think you would have been destroyed without an as assault, simply by long-range cannon?

Answer. No, sir; I do not think they could have destroyed us in an hour, or a half a day, or even a day by their artillery alone, because we could have kept the men under cover, but the very moment they advanced with their infantry in such superior numbers and our men rose to engage them, we would have been swept from the very face of the earth by their artillery, being in such close range, in full view, and taking the regiments on the flank, as would have been the case. It would have annihilated our force on the left, and the new troops could not have been held, I do not believe, by any mortal man, under such a fire. There were some regiments there that would have stood until they were cut to pieces, but some of those new regiments, not three weeks from home, could not have been expected to stand.

By the COURT:

Question. When would they have gone?

Answer. Like will asses or colts, they would have run into danger rather than out of it, there.

By General WHITE:

Question. Did you rally them and drive them into line?

Answer. I told them to obey their officers, to obey me; that I was encountering more danger than they were ; that they were running into danger rather than out of it by coming out into open ground into full view. The day before, when two or three shell s burst in their tents - they were engaged, perhaps, in getting their breakfasts - they were so perfectly confused and panic-struck that they ran and scattered like