WASHINGTON, D. C., March 5, 1863.
Commanding Army of the Potomac:
GENERAL: Your letter of the 3rd instant, in relation to leaves of absence, is just received. You will perceive by referring to General Order, Nos. 61 and 100, series of 1862, that authority to give leaves of absence, except on a specified surgeon's certificate, was denied to all commanders of armies and army corps. This rule has been relaxed only in regard to yourself and General Rosecrans. From all other commands the applications for leave must go to the Adjutant-General, and no leaves can be granted except by order of the Secretary of War. As many officers presented themselves here in Washington with leaves from commanders of army corps, I applied to the Secretary to ascertain if such authority had been granted. He replied that he had conferred that authority only on you, and that it could not be given to commanders of army corps. To give it to your generals of army corps and refuse it to other commanders of armies and departments would not be just. Last reports show that 9,692 officers are now absent from their commands. It is the determination of the War Department to diminish this number by retaining to itself the power to grant leaves and by refusing them except in the most urgent cases.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
H. W. HALLECK,
MARCH 5, 1863.
Brigadier General D. E. SICKLES,
Commanding Third Corps:
It is of vital importance that the late deserters from the Third Corps be caught and returned. Please telegraph Generals Heintzelman and Schenck, in order that all of the bridges, boats, and avenues leading from this direction to Washington and Baltimore be thoroughly guarded and all travelers examined. The boats from the south of Maryland should be searched as they arrive in Baltimore. The deserters will be generally found in citizens' or negroes' clothes, with forged passes. The provost-guard should also examine the cars as they leave for the North.
HDQRS. MIDDLE DEPT., 8TH ARMY CORPS,
Baltimore, Md., March 5, 1863.
The following-named troops of the Eighth Army Corps will constitute the Second Division, to the command of which General R. H. Milroy, U. S. Volunteers, is assigned:
First Brigade, Brigadier General Washington L. Elliott, U. S. Volunteers, commanding.-The One hundred and tenth Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry, Colonel J. W. Keifer; the One hundred and sixteenth Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry, Colonel James Washburn; the One hundred and twenty-second Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry, Colonel W. H. Ball; the One hundred and twenty-third Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry, Colonel W. T. Wilson; Battery D, First Regiment Virginia Volunteer Artillery, Captain John Carlin; the First Regiment New York Volunteer Cavalry, Colonel Andrew T. McReynolds; the Twelfth Pennsylvania Vol-