War of the Rebellion: Serial 028 Page 0440 OPERATIONS IN N. VA., W. VA., MD., AND PA.

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[CHAP. XXXI.

If necessary, you will take possession of the road and its stock, and employ the agents needed for running the road as a United States military railroad route.

EDWIN M. STANTON,

Secretary of War.

HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC,

October 17, 1862-10 a.m. (Received October 17.)

Major General FITZ JOHN PORTER:

You will please send orders at once to General Humphreys to withdraw his command to their old camp, on this side of the river, leaving it to his discretion whether to return by the way he went or by Harper's Ferry. General Hancock has been ordered to return to Harper's Ferry with his command. General Humphreys should communicate with General Hancock, so that the movement may be made simultaneously, supporting each other, if necessary.

You can leave for Washington at any time. General McClellan will endeavor to have Generals Butterfield and Griffin ordered back as soon as possible.

The route of General Humphreys' return should be controlled somewhat by the stage of water in the river.

R. B. MARCY,

Chief of Staff.

HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC,

October 17, 1862-10 a.m.

Major-General COUCH:

You will please send orders at once to General Hancock to return, with his command, to Harper's Ferry. Orders have been sent to General Humphreys to return to this side of river, leaving it to his discretion whether to go back the way he came or to come to Harper's Ferry. General Hancock should communicate with General Humphreys, so that the movement may be made simultaneously, supporting each other, if necessary.

R. B. MARCY,

Chief of Staff.

P. O.-If General Hancock thinks it safe, and has not already done so, he can send out a cavalry reconnaissance before coming in.

[Indorsement.]

General HANCOCK:

You will comply with above.

D. N. COUCH.

HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC,

October 17, 1862.

General COUCH:

The commanding general directs that if, in the opinion of General Hancock, it can be done with safety, he will leave a large brigade to occupy Halltown, retaining a squadron of cavalry there to picket the front and flanks.

R. B. MARCY,

Chief of Staff.