HEADQUARTERS FIRST CORPS,
Camp near Sharpsburg, Md., October 15, 1862.
Chief of Staff, Headquarters Army of the Potomac:
GENERAL: My quartermaster has just returned from Hagerstown, where he went to procure clothing for this corps. He was able to procure only a complete supply of overcoats and pants, with a few socks, drawers, and coats. He reports that there are no shoes, tents, blankets, knapsacks, or other clothing there. This leaves many of the men yet without a shoe. My requisitions call for 5,251 pairs of shoes.
JOHN F. REYNOLDS,
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC,
October 15, 1862-1 p.m.
General D. N. COUCH,
Commanding Second Army Corps, Harper's Ferry:
The general commanding has received information from signal stations which renders it not improbable that the enemy's forces have left the vicinity of Winchester and Bunker Hill. In order to verify this, he directs that you send out General Hancock at daylight to-morrow morning, with his own division and 1,500 men from another division, in the direction of Charlestown and Bunker Hill, to make a reconnaissance. All the cavalry force that can be spared from this vicinity will be sent to report to you to-night. Your own cavalry, united with this, will be placed under General Hancock's orders. You will direct him to proceed with his infantry as far as Charlestown, sending forward his cavalry toward Bunker Hill and Winchester, until he finds the enemy in force.
A small party of cavalry will be sent at the same time up the line of the railroad, as far as they can safely go, toward Opequon Creek, to examine carefully the condition of the railroad track as far as they go, and also gain all the information they can of the enemy in that direction.
The reconnaissance will be made without knapsacks, the troops carrying two days' rations in haversacks, and well supplied with ammunition.
Another reconnoitering party will be sent out from Shepherdstown, in the direction of Martinsburg, to-morrow morning.
After gaining the information desired, your party will return to Harper's Ferry.
Please give the accompanying map to General Hancock, and direct him to report frequently during the progress of the reconnaissance.*
Yours, very respectfully,
R. B. MARCY,
Chief of Staff.
P. S.-Lieutenant Bowen, Engineers, will accompany the expedition. Please acknowledge receipt.
*See reconnaissance from Harper's Ferry to Charlestown, &c., pp. 90-97.