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The propagation of a long pulse (600–800 ns) electron beam in an evacuated drift tube and accelerator gap geometries has been studied. Particular attention has been focused on the drift tube and gap surfaces since formation of plasma here will effect the operation of accelerators such as the Autoaccelerator. Experimental evidence of energetic electron and ion flux to the wall have been obtained. These and other measurements have led to a model describing the space‐charge neutralization of the beam and its effect on accelerator operation.