War of the Rebellion: Serial 027 Page 0043 Chapter XXXI. GENERAL REPORTS.

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now engaged, will cross the Potomac at Cheek's Ford, ascend its right bank to Loyettsville, take possession of Loudoun Heights, if practicable, by Friday morning, Keys' Ford on his left, and the road between the end of the mountain and the Potomac on his right. He will, as far as practicable, co-operate with General McLaws and General Jackson in intercepting the retreat of the enemy.

General D. H. Hill's division will form the rear guard of the army, pursuing the road taken by the main body. The reserve artillery, ordnance, supply trins, &c., will precede General Hill.

General Stuart will detach a squadron of cavalry to accompany the commands of Generals Longstreet, Jackson, and McLaws, and with the main body of the cavalry will cover the route of the army and bring up all stragglers that may have been left behind.

The commands of Generals Jackson, McLaws, and Walker, after accomplishing the objects for which they have been detached, will join the main body of the army at Boonsborough or Hagerstown.

Each regiment on the march will habitually carry its axes in the regimental ordnance wagons, for use of the men at their encampments to procure wood, &c.

By command of General R. E. Lee:

R. H. CHILTON,

Assistant Adjutant-General

Major General D. H. Hill,

Commanding Division.

In the report of a military commission, of which Major General D. Hunter was president, which convened at Washington for the purpose of investigating the conduct of certain officers in connection with the surrender of Harper's Ferry, I find the following:

The commission has remarked freely on Colonel Miles, an old officer, who has been killed in the service of his country, and it cannot form any motives of delicacy refrain from censuring those in high command when it thins such censure deserved.

The General-in-Chief has testified that General McClellan, after having received orders to repel the enemy invading the State of Maryland, marched only 6 miles per day, on an average, when pursuing this invading enemy.

The General-in-Chief also testifies that, in his opinion, he could and should have relieved and protected Harper's Ferry, and in this opinion the commission fully concur.

I have been greatly surprised that this commission in its investigations never called upon me nor upon any officer of my staff, nor, so far as I know, upon any officer of the Army of the Potomac able to give an intelligent statement of the movements of that army. But another paragraph in the same report makes testimony from such sources quite superfluous. It is as follows:

By a reference to the evidence it will be seen that, at the very moment Colonel Ford abandoned Maryland Heights, his little army was in reality relieved by Generals Franklin's and Sumner's corps at Crampton's Gap, within 7 miles of his position.

The corps of Generals Franklin and Sumner were a part of the army which I at that time had the honor to command, and they were acting under my orders at Crampton's Gap and elsewhere; and if, as the commission states, Colonel Ford's "little army was in reality relieved" by those officers, it was relieved by me.

I had on the morning of the 10th sent the following dispatch in relation to the command at Harper's Ferry:

CAMP NEAR ROCKVILLE,

September 10,* 1862-9.45 a. m.

Major-General HALLECK, Washington, D. C.:

Colonel Miles is at or near Harper's Ferry, as I understand, with 9,000 troops. He can do nothing where he is, but could be of great service if ordered to join me. I suggest that he be ordered to join me by the most practicable route.

GEO. B. McCLELLAN,

Major-General.

* September 11, according to files of Headquarters of the Army.