War of the Rebellion: Serial 028 Page 0348 OPERATIONS IN N. VA., W. VA., MD., AND PA. Chapter XXXI.

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You are authorized to send to Massachusetts the wounded, as you propose, putting an army surgeon in general charge of them.

Nothing is known here of any investigations of charges by Major Cross and Major Jones. It is understood they were sent to assist in regulating the transmission of supplies.

H. W. HALLECK,

General-in-Chief.

HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC,

September 23, 1862.

General FITZ JOHN PORTER,

Commanding Army Corps:

GENERAL: A signal dispatch just received from Harper's Ferry says a large column of troops was seen this evening moving out from Charlestown, in the direction of this place; also another column marching from about 4 miles west of Harper's Ferry in the direction of a ford below here. The commanding general directs that you guard the fords in your front and flanks well, so as to be prepared if these troops attempt to cross. The report that rebel forces are in the position I mentioned to you this evening is confirmed by an order found to-day, signed R. E. Lee, and from other evidence. I think there is no doubt but Lee and Jackson are in the vicinity of Shepherdstown.

Very respectfully,

R. B. MARCY,

Chief of Staff.

P. S. - Please suspend your reconnaissance till further orders.

HEADQUARTERS FIRST ARMY CORPS,

Camp near Sharpsburg [Md.], September 23, 1862.

Brigadier General R. B. MARCY, Chief of Staff:

GENERAL: I inclose, for the inspection and consideration of the commanding general, a comparative statement exhibiting the strength of this corps on the 18th instant, the day after the last action, and its strength on the 22th instant, with a column giving the increase in the four days intervening. This statement has been sent to division commanders, with orders to use every effort to account for the increase, and report the names of officers and men absent on the 18th without authority.

The development here made of straggling and abandoning their commands on the part of officers and men is so startling, and so important in its bearing on the reliance to be placed on the command with which I have been honored, that I deem it due to myself and the general commanding to make this communication.

How this serious and terrible evil can be cured is a difficult question to solve, inasmuch as the disease seems to pervade the whole body. Nothing, in my judgment, short of taking of life will have any effect, but that some measures are indispensable is rendered evident by the statement now inclosed.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

GEO. G. MEADE,

Brigadier-General, Commanding.