War of the Rebellion: Serial 051 Page 0614 Chapter XIII. KY.,SW.VA.,TENN.,MISS.,N.ALA.,AND N.GA.

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the courier if any troops had arrived at Abingdon, or if it was known there that General Buckner had burned Loudon Bridge and retreated south, and also if they knew that General Burnside had moved north with a large force. He replied that there were no troops in Abingdon, but some were expected, and that they were ignorant of recent operations in East Tennessee. I thus perceived that General Jones was ignorant of my situation, and of the enemy's late movements, and knowing that the entire force under General Jones could not cope successfully with General Burnside, and that General Lee could not re-enforce him to any extent, as General Meade was reported to be pressing him in Eastern Virginia, I concluded if General Jones should attempt to relieve me that the relieving force would be destroyed, and the occupation of the Virginia salt-works follow, of course. The dispatch of General Jones referred to I destroyed, fearing it might fall into the hands of the enemy, show the weakness of General Jones, and lead to an attack upon him to destroy the salt-works. I thus perceived that my command could effect nothing by a temporary resistance, and that even could I hope to cut my way out and attempt an escape up the valley, I should be thwarted in the attempt without artillery or cavalry, as the enemy had a formidable force of these arms and could cut me up or capture my forces in detail. I also reflected that such a step, if partially successful, would draw the enemy toward Abingdon, and probably result in extending their operations to that place, when a surrender of the gap would probably satisfy his desire for conquest at the time. The eventual escape of about 100 men and officers was effected after the surrender. When Colonel De Courcy heard of it (the surrender) he incautiously drew in his pickets and his command, which left passes unguarded, by which this force escaped in small squads along the ridge of the mountain. For this act of Colonel De Courcy's he was arrested by General Burnside. There were not enough men escaped to warrant pursuit by the Federal commander, although he knew the fact. I have since regretted that I did not assemble a council of war and have the vote of each officer taken and recorded on the question of surrender. I can safely assert and prove directly or circumstantially that the voice in favor of a surrender would have been nearly unanimous. Every one I spoke to at the time said we could do no better. The officers of different regiments and batteries had but little or no experience in active service in battle or siege, and added to all other causes-the recent reverses at Vicksburg, Port Hudson, and Gettysburg, as well as the character of the letters and papers received from their homes-had a most demoralizing effect on the command.

On September 9, about 10 a. m., General Burnside sent in a demand for surrender (I had on the 7th and 8th rejected three similar demands from General Shackelford and Colonel De Courcy), stating that enough time had been allowed, and that he had a force large enough to carry the position by assault and wished to spare the effusion of blood. I accordingly, after an attempt to make terms, surrendered unconditionally. When an official investigation may be allowed me, I hope to bring much other proof in support of the propriety of the surrender made and of the inevitable necessity which led to it.

In reviewing my course of action as an officer, there seems to me but one question open to comment or affording reason for a difference of opinion; that is, my ability or the propriety of attempting