War of the Rebellion: Serial 040 Page 0132 N. VA., W. VA., MD., AND PA. Chapter XXXVII.

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gade composed principally of infantry on the Harper's Ferry side of the river. Both these regiments are now on the Maryland side. The only change I suggest in the plan proposed is to allow one or both of the batteries of light artillery to remain on duty with Kenly's brigade on the Virginia side, where they could probably be of more service than on the Heights.

The Fourteenth Pennsylvania Cavalry, Colonel J. N. Schoonmaker, is not mentioned, but it is presumed that it will be included in the First Brigade.

Owing to the very bitter feeling which is reported to exist between the officers and men of the Twenty-third Illinois and the Second Potomac Home Brigade, occasioned by a conflict between the provost-guard in Cumberland and some men of the Twenty-third, resulting in the death of one of the latter, which affair is about to undergo an investigation before a general court-martial, it is probable that the arrangement proposed in the Fourth Brigade will not work so harmoniously as it ought; and yet, without a change of position, it is not seen how a better arrangement can be made.

The Twelfth Pennsylvania Cavalry, ordered to General Milroy, will be relieved by Major Cole's battalion, Potomac Home Brigade, in pursuance of your telegram of yesterday.

I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,




Washington, March 7, 1863.

Major-General SCHENCK,


GENERAL: The substance of your dispatch* in regard to Winchester was telegraphed to General Hooker, who replied that no considerable forces of the enemy could possibly be in front of General Milroy, and that he was probably "stampeded," as usual. General Milroy seems to be a very unreliable man, and hardly fit for such a position. Can you not make a better disposition of him?

In regard to reconstructing the railroad to Winchester, the Secretary of War is of opinion that to do so at the present time would be a mere waste of public money.

I have already communicated to you my opinion in regard to Winchester. It is a mere post of observation, or, in military phrase, a post in the air. The Upper Potomac is a mere line of defense, not a base of operations. It is, therefore, injudicious to risk any large number of troops at Winchester, and these must retire if there be any serious danger that the enemy will cut them off from Harper's Ferry.

General Milroy's plan of operations is contrary to every military rule. To move on army up the Shenandoah while Hooker operated from the Rappahannock, would be to repeat the same old error of distant parallel lines, with the enemy between them, ready to concentrate upon and crush our divided forces.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,




*Not found.