Our duties to our friend are now closed. It has not been the office of advocates, but more nearly resembles that of a boo-keeper, who arranges the scattered items into one account and shows the balance. We have had first to arrange the evidence, and, that done, the justification of our friend is full and complete. And this high tribunal, the highest that perhaps has ever met in the United States, and charged with one of the most important inquiries that ever was committed to any tribunal, will, we are sure, take great pleasure in certifying the Government that Colonel Ford merits nothing but praise for his conduct as commander of Maryland Heights. The Government, we are sure, when the facts shall be fully known to it, will cheerfully concur in that opinion.
We have the honor to be, with great respect,
SANDERS W. JOHNSTON.
OCTOBER 27, 1862.
WASHINGTON, D. C., October 28, 1862.
The Commission met pursuant to adjournment.
* * * * * * *
The Commission resumed the investigation in relation to the evacuation of Maryland Heights and the surrender of Harper's Ferry.
The judge-advocate read in evidence the following telegram from General McClellan to General Halleck:
FREDERICK CITY, September 13 - 11 p. m.
Major General H. W. HALLECK, General-in-Chief:
An order of General R. E. Lee, addressed to General D. H. Hill, which has accidentally come into my hands this evening, the authenticity of which is unquestionable discloses some of the plans of the enemy, and shows most conclusively that the main rebel army is now before us, including Longstreet, Jackson, the two Hills, McLaws, Walker, and R. H. Anderson's and Hood's commands. That army was ordered to march on the 10th, and to attack and capture our forces at Harper's Ferry and Martinsburg yesterday, by surrounding them with such a heavy force that they conceived it impossible they could escape. They were also ordered to take possession of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad; afterward to concentrate at Boonsborough or Hagerstown. That this was the plan of campaign on the 9th is confirmed by the fact that heavy firing has been heard in the direction of Harper's Ferry this afternoon, and the columns took the roads specified in the order. It may, therefore, in my judgment, be regarded as certain that this rebel army, which I have good reasons for believing amounts to 120,000 men or more, and know to be commanded by Lee in person, intended to attempt penetrating Pennsylvania. The officers told their friends here that they were going to Harrisburg and Philadelphia.
My advance has pushed forward to-day and overtaken the enemy on the Middletown and Harper's Ferry roads, and several slight engagements have taken place in which our troops have driven the enemy from their position. A train of wagons, about three-fourths of a mile long, was destroyed to-day by the rebels in their flight. We took over 50 prisoners.
This army marches forward early tomorrow morning, and will make forced marches to endeavor to relieve Colonel Miles; but I fear, unless he makes a stout resistance, we may be too late.
A report came in this moment that Miles was attacked to-day, and repulsed the enemy; but I do not know what credit to attack to the statement. I shall do everything in my power to save Miles if he still holds out. Portions of Burnside's and Franklin's corps moved forward this evening. I have received your dispatch at 10 a. m. You will perceive, from what I have stated, that there is but little probability of the enemy being in much force south of the Potomac. I do not by any means wish to be understood as underrating the importance of holding Washington; it is of great consequence; but upon the success of this army the late of the nation depends. It was for this reason that I said everything else should be made subordinate to placing this army in proper condition to meet the large rebel force in our front. Unless General
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