Numbers 6. Reports of Major General George G. Meade. U. S. Army, commanding Army of the Potomac, of operations June 28-August 3, and correspondence with the authorities in Washington, &c.
HEADQUARTERS OF THE ARMY,
Washington, D. C., June 27, 1863.
Major General GEORGE G. MEADE,
Army of the Potomac:
GENERAL: You will receive with this the order of the President placing you in command of the Army of the Potomac. Considering the circumstances, no one ever received a more important command; and I cannot doubt that you will fully justify the confidence which the Government has reposed in you. You will not be hampered by any minute instructions from these headquarters. Your army is free to act as you may deem proper under the circumstances as they arise. You will, however, keep in view the important fact that the Army of the Potomac is the covering army of Washington as well as the army of operation against the invading forces of the rebels. You will, therefore, maneuver and fight in such a manner as to cover the capital and also Baltimore, as far as circumstances will admit. Should General Lee move upon either of these places, it is expected that you will either anticipate him or arrive with him so as to give him battle. All forces within the sphere of your operations will be held subject to your orders. Harper's Ferry and its garrison are under your direct orders. You are authorized to remove from command, and to send from your army, any officer or other person you may deem proper, and to appoint to command as you may deem expedient. In fine, general, you are intrusted with all the power and authority which the President, the Secretary of War, or the General-in-Chief can confer on you, and you may rely upon our full support. You will keep me fully informed of all your movements, and the positions of your own troops and those of the enemy, so far as known. I shall always be ready to advise and assist you to the utmost of my ability. Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
H. W. HALLECK,
FREDERICK, MD., June 28, 1863-7 a. m.
(Received 10 a. m.)
General H. W. HALLECK,
The order placing me in command of this army is received. As a soldier, I obey it, and to the utmost of my ability will execute it. Totally unexpected as it has been, and in ignorance of the exact condition of the troops and position of the enemy, I can only now say that it appears to me I must move toward the Susquehanna, keeping Washington and Baltimore well covered, and if the enemy is checked in his attempt to cross the Susquehanna, or if he turns toward Baltimore, to give him battle. I would say that I trust every available