Leesburg; but the operations of both armies were so masked by the intervening mountains that neither could obtain positive information of the force and movements of the other. Winchester and Martinsburg were at this time occupied by us simply as outposts. Neither place was susceptible of a good defence.
Directions were, therefore, given on June 11 to withdraw these garrisons to Harper's Ferry. But these orders were not obeyed, and, on the 13th, Winchester was attacked and its armament and a part of its garrison captured. Lee now crossed the Potomac near Williamsport, and directed his march upon Harrisburg. General Hooker followed upon his right flank, covering Washington and Baltimore.
On reaching Frederick, Md., June 28, he was, at his own request, relieved from the command, and Major-General Meade appointed in his place. During these movements, calvary skirmishes took place at Beverly Ford, Brandy Station, Barryville, and Aldie, some of which were quite severe, but, in the absence of detailed reports, I am unable to give the losses on either side. When General Meade, under the orders of the President, took command of the Army of the Potomac on June 28, it was mainly concentrated at Frederick, Md. Lee's army was supposed to be advancing against Harrisburg, which was garrisoned by raw militia, upon which little reliance could be placed. Ewell's corps was on the west side of the Susquehanna, between the place and Columbia. Longstreet's corps was near Chambersburg, and Hill's corps between the place and Cashtown. Stuart's cavalry was making a raid between Washington and Frederick, cutting Meade's line of supplies and capturing his trains. Our force at Harper's Ferry at this time was supposed to be about 11, 000. It was incorrectly represented to General Meade to destitute of provisions. and that he must immediately supply it, or order the abandonment of the place. * Accordingly, a few hours after he assumed the command, he assented to an order, drawn up officer of General hooker's staff, directing General French to send 7, 000 men of the garrison to Frederick, and with the remainder, estimated at 4, 000, to remove and escort the public property to Washington. This order, based on erroneous representations, was not known in Washington until too late to be countermanded. It was, however, not entirely executed when General Meade very judiciously directed the reoccupation of that important point. On the 29th, General Meade's army was put in motion, and at night was in position; it left at Emmitsburg, and right at New Windsor. The advance of Buford's cavalry was at Gettysburg, and Kilpatrick's division at Hanover, where it encountered Stuart's cavalry, which had passed around rear and right of our without meeting any serious opposition. On the 30th, the First, Third, and Eleventh Corps were concentrated at Emmitsburg, under general Reynolds, while right wing moved up to Manchester. Buford reported the enemy in force on the Cashtown road, near Gettysburg, and Reynolds moved up to that place on July 1. He found our cavalry warmly engaged with the enemy, and holding him in check on the Cashtown road. Reynolds immediately deployed the advanced division of the First
*See Butterfield to Meade, January 23, 1864, p. 20, and Meade to Butterfield, February 4, 1864, p. 21.