War of the Rebellion: Serial 044 Page 0158 N. C., VA., W. VA., MD., PA., ETC. Chapter XXXIX.

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portation of supplies, which I could not do if this line of communication and transportation were in advance on my front and at all times liable to be cut by the enemy . I did not believe that any number of pickets stationed immediately on and scattered along the road itself would insure its protection, and especially against cavalry raids, which we had no cavalry force in number or condition equal to that mounted force with which the enemy were threatening us, otherwise I might have relied in some greater degree on that resource . These views I consider especially applicable to that portion of the baltimore and Ohio Railroad most approachable from Shenandoah Valley, and the valleys of Lost River, Cacapon, Patterson Creek, and New Creek beyond, and that part of Loudoun County immediately east of the Blue Ridge . On this account, I always advised, and, so far as my command was concerned, preferred to cover that large bend of the railroad toward the north by a line of occupation to be held with some considerable force, extending along what may be regarded as the chord of that semicircle . For this purpose, I thought there should not, only be, as there has constantly been, a pretty strong force kept at New York, but that Romney and Winchester should be occupied, and that as strong a force as General Heintzelman could afford should be kept at Leesburg . These points, and especially Winchester, were they keys to the approaches north . General Halleck frequently repeated his suggestions and advice, in conformity with his own views, that Winchester should be occupied only as an advanced outpost, but I adhered, and, as I still think, rightly, to my own idea, and that the more in the case of Winchester, because there being no railroad communication left with that position, it was not within easy supporting distance in case of any such raids as we had reason to apprehend, and any small force kept there would, therefore, I thought, be inevitably lost. These views of mine, however, were held and expressed with reference to the known and probable force of the enemy kept continuously in the valley, and had not any reference to the movement of any large and overwhelming force of the enemy, such as Lee's army, or any considerable portion of it . In this connection, I refer to telegrams from General Halleck to myself, dated 5th of January, 30th of April, and 8th of May, 1863 . General Halleck, in view of this difference of opinion between us, which was always pleasantly discussed, did not, as I understood him, and as the communications will show, ever peremptorily order or insist upon the abandonment of Winchester . On the 8th of June, 1863, General Halleck sent me a telegram, recommending me, on account of an apprehend raid of cavalry massing by the enemy at Culpeper, to mass and concentrate my troops along the railroad, exposing no large force in advance. When that telegram arrived in Baltimore, I was absent from my headquarters, in the State of Delaware, within my department. On the 9th of June, Lieutenant Colonel Donn Piatt, my chief of staff, telegraphed me at Dover, informing me of this communication from General Halleck, and asking what points for concentration General Halleck had suggested to me . I immediately replied to Lieutenant-Colonel Piatt on that same day (the 9th), stating, among other thing, that General Halleck had never indicated points of concentration, and directing him to ask General Halleck if he had points to suggest, informing him also that I would return to Baltimore by 4 o'clock in the morning . I did so return to Baltimore the morning of the 10th of June . I found that Lieutenant-Colonel Piatt had sent a telegram in my name, as directed on the 9th, asking General Halleck if his knowledge of rebel movements enabled him to suggest the better points on the railroad to concentrate, and informing him of the number of my troops respectively at Harper's Ferry, Frederick, Winchester, Martinsburg, Romney, and New Creek, and standing that the troops at Winchester could fall back to Harper's Ferry or Martinsburg . To this dispatch no reply was received from General Halleck until the 11th of June, when I received his telegram, dated at noon of that day, advising that "the Winchester troops, excepting enough to serve as an outpost, should be withdrawn to Harper's ferry . " These are all the communications, I believe, that I ever received from General Halleck in regard to the abandonment of Winchester, in whole or in part, and they were, as will be seen, not in the form of orders, but suggestions, rather . The telegrams attached hereto being referred to, will make any answer to this question connected and complete . [Telegrams.] "Washington, January 5, 1863. "General SCHENCK, Baltimore:"No attempt should be made to hold Winchester against a large force of the enemy, but use it simply as an outpost, as advised in our conversation a day or two ago. Isolated posts and columns are too liable to be cut off. * * * * * * * "


General-in-Chief. . "