War of the Rebellion: Serial 028 Page 0470 OPERATIONS IN N. VA.,W. VA.,MD.,AND PA. Chapter XXXI.

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and sent to join me. Should my request be acceded to, I nominate for the important command thus vacated Major-General Morell, who, I am confident, will give the utmost satisfaction to the Government and to General Wool in the discharge of the delicate and onerous duties of that post.

I renew the request made some time since to have early and favorable action on the proposition to relieve General Gorman from duty with this army, and to send him to the West. It will enable me to make changes which will prove greatly to the advantage of the public service.

I am satisfied that it would work much better to the welfare of the army if I had authority to send general officers to Washington to report, when sufficient cause exists for a change of commanders. Everything should give way to any improvement in the efficiency and the fighting condition of the troops. There are, occasionally, cases where a general, perhaps a valuable officer, either from dissensions, from the extreme unfavorable regard of the troops, or from other causes not reflecting on his character at all, should be removed, to prevent the demoralization of considerable bodies of troops. In such cases the general commanding an army should have authority to act as his judgment may dictate. There are cases of extreme necessity, arising not unfrequently, when leaves of absence for a day or two could be granted to the alleviation of much private misery without inconvenience to the public service. I ask that I may have authority to grant leaves of absence for a term not exceeding five days.

GEO. B. McCLELLAN,

Major-General.

WASHINGTON, D. C., October 23, 1862. (Sent 3.30 p. m.)

Major-General McCLELLAN:

Should you move as you proposed yesterday. I can send about 20,000 men from Washington to re-enforce you. On consultation with General Banks, it is proposed to push the corps of Sigel and Heintzelman to Thoroughfare Gap, to reach that place about the time you reach Snickersville. Bayard's cavalry will accompany them. They will then be subject to your direct orders. The railroad will be repaired as they advance. Sigel can reach the gap in two days, and Heintzelman in three or four. Thoroughfare Gap is deemed preferable to Aldie, on account of supplies and the greater protection afforded from that position to Alexandria. State what day you want them to be at Thorough fare. I wrote you, in relation to the fortifying of the heights near Harper's Ferry, that field batteries and temporary block-houses should be constructed, but that stone works and permanent fortifications were not approved.

H. W. HALLECK,

General-in-Chief.

HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC, October 23, [1862]-6.45 p. m.

(Received 9 p. m.)

Major General H. W. HALLECK, General-in-Chief:

Your dispatch of to-day is received, and I will reply to the first part by a confidential aide-de-camp to-morrow. I am quite sure I never recommended the building of permanent works on the heights around Harper's Ferry. The block-houses must be built of loose stone and