June 19. - Deserters brought in from Sharpsburg, and from their
examination telegraphed as follows, viz:
Headquarters, Maryland Heights, June 19, 1863.
Major -General Hooker, Commanding Army of the Potomac:
Three intelligent men deserted the Eleventh Tennessee Regiment* last night at Sharpsburg. They report the force there about 8, 000 of Ewell's corps, which crossed the Rappahannock about 25, 000 strong. The men last night were ordered to prepare three day's rations, to move this morning, as they were told, on Washington, by Harper's Ferry or Frederick . One of the men is very intelligent, tired of the war, and wants to get home.
The entire force engaged in strengthening the defenses, which have assumed an improved form. Colonel Raynolds is industrious as well as skillful, and it we are let alone for a few days, we can hold the position against Lee's army . Weather bad for any benefit from the signal corps, but when it clears off we can from the station cover the country from Martinsburg to Williamsport pretty well and all the country about Shepherdstown Ford perfectly . From information gleaned from the country people and our scouts, no force exceeding 8, 000 to 10, 000 men had crossed the Potomac . Maryland Heights is now a good against this force . Lieut . Colonel W. T. Lusk, formerly aide- de - camp to Major-General Stevens, having heard that I was at Maryland Heights and without any staff. left New York on the 14th instant, arrived at Maryland Heights at 6 p. m. on the services as a volunteer aide-de camp, or for any other post where he could render any service . The arrival of Lieutenant-Colonel Lusk was very opportune, as he had experience as staff officer, having been at Port Royal and Virginia on the staff of Major-General Stevens up to that officer's death, and will enable me to relieve Captain Woodhull, whom I borrowed from Major-General Schenck'staff, and whom the general was telegraphed to return to him as soon as possible . I shall recommend Lieutenant-Colonel Lusk for the appointment of assistant adjutant-general, which, in the expectation of active service, he is willing to accept until the campaign is finished, and from necessity shall put him on duty accordingly. June 20. - In answer to Major-General Hooker's telegram, inquiring as to the strength, &c., of the position, I telegraphed as follows:
Headquarters, Maryland Heights, June 20, 1863-7p. m.
Major -General Hooker, Commanding Army of the Potomac:We have our defenses improved and still at work on them. A careful examination to-day leads me to expect to hold out until I can be relieved. We can inflict heavy losses of any force which may attack us, and we can hold the place against a very much larger force than we suppose to be in our vicinity. At all events, I shall hold it to the last extremity. The rains which are falling must raise the river, and may make the occupation of the place of more importance to the rebels than it would be under other circumstances . The rains interfere more with his movements than they do with our work.
At 10 a. m. I telegraphed Major-General Hooker as follows:
Headquarters, Maryland Heights, June 20, 1863-10 a. m.
Major-General Hooker, Commanding Army of the Potomac:
I have information from a reliable scout, whom I sent to examine the enemy between this place and Hagerstown, that Ewell is at or near Williamsport, with his
*This regiment was in Tennessee at this time.