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9th Vermont Infantry
Harper's Ferry

Memories of the Ninth Vermont at the
Tragedy of Harper's Ferry, Sept. 15, 1862.


officer of forty years' experience, refused every entreaty and repelled all advice to do anything to strengthen the place. Naturally the men said it could be nothing but collusion with the enemy. On this point I will quote the testimony of General Wool, who placed and continued him in command, by transferring General Julius White, an excellent volunteer officer, to Martinsburg, after our retreat from Winchester to Harper's Ferry, in order that Colonel Miles might retain this important command:

"Early in August I ordered him to entrench Bolivar Heights - he did not do it. I ordered him to abbatis Camp Hill - he did not do it; to put a battery of six pieces in front of Harper's Ferry - he did not do that; to build a blockhouse on Maryland Heights - he declined to have the regiment whom I sent up do it, and, " [General Wool added], "even after Major Rogers came down and informed me that Colonel Miles would not countenance it."

What a confession of idiocy for a major-general of the regular Army commanding a department! Colonel Power, chief engineer, swore,

"that Miles would not let him slash in front of his batteries 'because it would expose what we were doing to the enemy.' When the enemy came they crowded nearly on top of us, by the help of these dense woods, before we could see them. Colonel Miles had eight months in which to slash the timber and fortify, and he did nothing."

In the face of his testimony, as given above, General Wool, under oath, assured the commission he was the best officer whom he had at his disposal, except General Morris, at Fort machinery, whom he could not spare. He added, parenthetically, "I mean of the regular Army." When asked if he considered him a better officer than General White, he was base and cowardly enough to give an evasive answer. We who had served with Julius White knew him to be a brave, energetic, able officer, and resented this insinuation. If Miles had been killed by the first shell, instead of the

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