No reliable intelligence of the position of the enemy has been obtained. He pickets the Rappahannock from Fredericksburg to Rappahannock Station. These pickets, however, seem to be mere "lookouts, " to warn him of my approach. Some camps can be seen at Pony Mountain, near Culpeper, and in the vicinity of Cedar Mountain. Contradictory reports from citizens and scouts place the main body, some at Gordonsville, others say at Staunton and Charlottesville, and some assert the retreat has been extended to Richmond. My own expectation is that he will be found behind the line of defense, most of the fords being commanded by the southern bank, where his artillery can be used to advantage. If I can hold the railroad without too great a weakening of my force, and it proves to have the capacity to afford all the supplies needed, I shall advance until the enemy is encountered or definite information obtained of his movements. By holding the road, I do not refer to the force necessary to prevent the injuries caused by guerrillas, but against large bodies of cavalry or other forces placed on my flank and rear for the purpose of destroying my communications.
GEO. G. MEADE,
P. S. -4 p. m. -A scout just returned from across the river reports the enemy have repaired the railroad bridge across the Rapidan, and are using the road to Culpeper Court-House; that Lee has been intends to make a stand at Culpeper or in its vicinity.
UNOFFICIAL.] HEADQUARTERS OF THE ARMY,
Washington, July 28, 1863.
Army of the Potomac,
GENERAL: I take this method of writing you a few words which I could not well communicate in any other way. Your fight at Gettysburg met with the universal approbation of all military men here. You handled your troops in that battle as well, if not better, than any general has handled his army during the war. You brought all your forces into action at the right time and place, which no commander of the Army of the Potomac has done before. You may well be proud of that battle. The President's order, or proclamation, of July 4, showed how much he appreciated your success. And now a few words in regard to subsequent events. You should not have been surprised or vexed at the President's disappointment at the escape of Lee's army. He had examined into all the details of sending you re-enforcements, to satisfy himself that every man who could possibly be spared from other places had been sent to your army. He thought that Lee's defeat was so certain that he felt no little impatience at his unexpected escape. I have no doubt, general, that you felt the disappointment as keenly as any one else. Such things sometimes occur to us without any fault of our own. Take it altogether, your short campaign has proved your superior generalship, and you merit, as you will receive, the confidence of the