Army of the Potomac with a visit, and remained several days, during which he went through the different encampments, reviewed the troops, and went over the battle-fields of South Mountain and Antietam. I had the opportunity during this visit to describe to him the operations of the army since the time if left Washington, and gave him my reasons for not following the enemy after he crossed the Potomac.
On the 5th of October the division of General Cox (about 5,000 men) was ordered from my command to Western Virginia.
On the 7th of October I received the following telegram:
WASHINGTON, D. C., October 6, 1862.
I am instructed to telegraph you as follows: The President directs that you cross the Potomac and give battle to the enemy or drive him south. Your army must move now while the roads are good. If you cross the river between the enemy and Washington, and cover the latter by your operation, you can be re-enforced with 30,000 men. If you move up the Valley of the Shenandoah, not more than 12,000 or 15,000 can be sent to you. The President advises the interior line, between Washington and the enemy, but does not order it. He is very desirous that you army move as soon as possible. You will immediately report what line you adopt and when you intend to cross the river; also to what point the re-enforcements are to be sent. It is necessary that the plan of your operations be positively determined on before orders are given for building bridges and repairing railroads.
I am directed to add that the Secretary of War and the General-in-Chief fully concur with the President in these instructions.
H. W. HALLECK,
At this time General Averell with the greater part of our efficient cavalry was in the vicinity of Cumberland, and General Kelley, the commanding officer, had that day reported that a large force of the enemy was advancing on Colonel Campbell at Sir John's Run. This obliged me to order General Averell to proceed with his force to the support of Colonel Campbell, which delayed his return to the army for several days.
On the 10th of October Stuart crossed the river at McCoy's Ferry with 2,000 cavalry and a battery of horse artillery, on his road into Maryland and Pennsylvania, making it necessary to use all our cavalry against him. This exhausting service completely broke down nearly all of our cavalry horses, and rendered a remount absolutely indispensable before we could advance on the enemy.
The following were the dispositions of troops made by me to defeat the purposes of this raid:
General Averell, then at Green Spring, on the Upper Potomac, was ordered to move rapidly down upon the north side of the river with all his disposable cavalry, using every exertion to get upon the trail of the enemy and follow it up vigorously. General Pleasonton, with the remaining cavalry force, was ordered to take the road by Cavetown, Harmos's gap, and Mechanicstown, and cut off the retreat of the enemy should he make for any of the fords below the position of the main army. His orders were to pursue them with the utmost rapidity, not to spare his men or horses, and to destroy or capture them if possible. General Crook, at that time commanding Cox's division at Hancock, en route for Western Virginia, was ordered to halt, place his men in cars, and remain in readiness to move to any point above should the enemy return in that direction, keeping his
scouts well out on all the roads leading from the direction of Chambersbourg to the Upper Potomac. The other commanders between Hancock and Harper's Ferry were instructed to keep a vigilant watch upon all the roads and fords.