War of the Rebellion: Serial 028 Page 0360 OPERATIONS IN N.VA.,W.VA.,MD.,AND PA. Chapter XXXI.

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troops have arrived within the last ten days. A part of Sigel's corps has been sent to Western Virginia, and I think ten new regiments to General Dix. As soon as your plans are fully agreed on, other troops will be sent to you.



WASHINGTON, D. C., September 26, 1862.

Major General GEORGE B. McCLELLAN,

Commanding, &c.:

GENERAL: Your telegram in relation to reconstructing bridges at Harper's Ferry was received yesterday. As I telegraphed to you this morning, the War Department wishes to be informed more definitely of your plans before authorizing the expenditure of large sums of money for rebuilding bridges on the Potomac. Of course, your movements must depend in a measure upon the position and movements of the enemy; nevertheless they will be subordinate to a general plan. Without knowing your plan and your views on this subject, I cannot answer the questions which are asked me by the Governement. I had hoped that, instead of crossing at Harper's Ferry (unless in the pursuit of a beaten army), you would be able to cross lower down the Potomac, so as to cover Washington by your line of operations, and thus avoid the necessity of keeping a large force here. In your present position the enemy threatens both your army and the capital. Will be crossing of your forces at Harper's Ferry relieve the latter? It will if the enemy is at Martinsburg; but will it if his main force falls back on Winchester? Moreover, his repairing the bridges over the Rapidan and Rappahannock would seem to indicate an attempt to reoccupy Manassas, or at least to threaten Washington from that direction. The number of troops to be left here will depend upon the amount of protection to be afforded by your army in the field.

You ask for Sigel's corps and twenty new regiments to be sent to Harper's Ferry, and also additional old troops. If your movements are to be such as to cover Washington, this number, and perhaps, in a few days, more, can be sent to you; but, if otherwise, we should be careful not to weaken this point too much, especially while the troops here are so very raw.

It seems to me that Washington is the real base of operations, and that it should not under any circumstances be exposed.

Please state you plans as fully as possible.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,




September 26, 1862-10.30 p.m. (Received 12 midnight.)

Major General H. W. HALLECK,


I have just returned from Maryland Heights, and have determined to fortify them, as well as the heights on the opposite side of the river, in order to avoid a similar catastrophe to the one which happened to Colonel Miles. In view of this, I shall be glad to have contrabands sent to Harper's Ferry from Washington to perform a portion of the necessary