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September Surrender

By: Creighton Waters
The largest surrender of Union troops in the American Civil War happened in Harpers Ferry. Was the Union commander incompetent? Were the troops cowards?You decide.....
In March 1862, perhaps the most controversial Civil War commander in the history of Harpers Ferry arrived—Col. Dixon S. Miles (USA). He arrived under a cloud of suspicion that followed him to the grave.
Where did suspicion around Miles begin? Before Harpers Ferry, Miles had over 40 years of US Army service. He commanded a reserve division at the First Battle of Manassas (Bull Run) on July 21, 1861. Following the battle, another federal officer accused Miles of intoxication during the battle. A court of inquiry convened. Colorful testimony stated that Miles was wearing two hats and fell from his horse. Miles, and those who defended him, claimed he had been ill at the time. The court rendered an opinion that evidence was not sufficient to convict Colonel Miles of drunkenness if the case were to be brough…

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