WASHINGTON, July 9, 1863-9. 40 a. m.
If no arrangement was made between you and General Lee for the exchange and parole of prisoners of war, by designating places of delivery, as provided for in seventh article of cartel, no parole given by the troops of either army is valid. Please answer if any such agreement was made.
H. W. HALLECK.
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC,
Middletown, July 9, 1863-11 a. m.
(Received 12. 10 p. m.)
Major General H. W. HALLECK, General-in-Chief:
The army is moving in three columns, the right column having in it three corps. The line occupied to-day with the advance will be on the other side of the mountains, from Boonsborough to Rohrersville. Two corps will march without their artillery, the animals being completely exhausted, many falling on the road. The enemy's infantry were driven back yesterday evening from Boonsborough, or, rather, they retired on being pressed toward Hagerstown. I am still under the impression that Lee's whole army is between Hagerstown and Williamsport, with an advance at Middleburg, on the road to Greencastle, observing Couch. The state of the river and the difficulty of crossing has rendered it imperative on him to have his army, artillery, and trains ready to receive my attack. I propose to move on a line from Boonsborough toward the center of the line from Hagerstown to Williamsport, my left flank looking to the river and my right toward the mountains, keeping the road to Frederick in my rear and center. I shall try to keep as concentrated as the roads by which I can move will admit, so that, should the enemy attack, I can move to meet him, and, if he assumes the defensive, I can deploy as I think proper. I transmit a copy of dispatch, sent to General Smith, at Waynesborough. * One of like tenor was sent to General Couch. The operations of both those officers should be made to conform to mine. They can readily ascertain my progress from scouts and by the movements of the enemy, and, if the forces under them are of any practical value, they could join my right flank and assist in the attack. My cavalry will be pushed to-day well to the front, on the right and left, and I hope will collect information. It is with the greatest difficulty that I can obtain any reliable intelligence of the enemy. I send a dispatch, received this morning from General Neill, in command of a brigade of infantry and cavalry, who followed the retreat of the enemy through Fairfield, and effected a junction with General Smith at Waynesborough. A copy of my dispatch to General Smith is also sent you. * When I spoke of two corps having to leave their batteries behind, I should have stated that they remained at Frederick to get new horses and shoe the others, and that they will rejoin their corps this p. m. The object of the remark was to show the delay. I think the decisive battle of the war will be fought in a few days. In view of its momentous consequences, I desire to adopt such measures as in my judgment will tend to insure success, even though these may be deemed tardy.
GEO. G. MEADE.
*See part III, p. 621.