I had not a Martinsburg the cipher, and telegraphed, or rather wrote to following telegram, to General Milroy at Winchester, viz:
"Martinsburg, June 11, 1863.
"The telegram received. It must be considered an order, and obeyed accordingly . Take immediate steps. You understand this. I write at length by orderly. "
"Lieutenant-Colonel, and Chief of Staff.
" I immediately sent Mr. Woodhull to Harper's Ferry, where he could procure a cipher, with the following telegram to Major-General Milroy, viz:
" MARTINSBURG, June 11, 1863.
"In accordance with orders from Halleck, received headquarters at Baltimore to-day, you will immediately take steps to remove your command from Winchester to Harper's Ferry. You will without delay call in Colonel McReynolds and such other outposts not necessary for observation at the front. Send back your heavy guns, surplus ammunition, and subsistence, retaining only such force and arms as will constitute what General Halleck designates as a lookout, which can readily and without inconvenience fall back to Harper's ferry before a superior force. "
" Lieutenant-Colonel, and Chief of Staff.
"After giving the necessary orders, as I considered them at Martinsburg, to correspond with this one given to General Milroy, I proceeded to New Creek, for the purpose of looking after the troops at Romney. AT New Creek, I received the following telegram from General Schenck, viz:
"BALTIMORE, June 12, 1863. "
" Lieutenant Colonel DONN PIATT,
"Chief of Staff, New Creek, Va.:
"Copy of your dispatch to general Milroy just received from Captain Woodhull, You have somewhat exceeded my instructions. I directed steps to be taken for preparing to carry out instructions of the General-in-Chief., and added:`Be ready, but wait for fuhrer orders. 'I will communicate directly with Milroy.
"ROBT. C. SCHENCK,
"I received it on 12th June . The following is the telegram referred to as having been sent direct to General Milroy. I never saw it until my return to Baltimore, viz:
" BALTIMORE, June 12, 1863 .
" Major General R. H. MILROY,
"Lieutenant-Colonel Piatt, as I learn by copy of dispatch sent me, which he forwarded to you from Harper's ferry, misunderstood me, and somewhat exceeded his instructions. You will make all the required preparations for withdrawing, but hold your position in the meantime. Be ready for movement, but await fuhrer orders . I doubt the propriety of calling in McReynolds' brigade at once. If you should back to Harper's ferry, he will be in part on the way, and covering your flank. But use your discretion as to any order to him. Below I give you a copy of the telegram of the General-in-Chief Nothing heard since. Give me constant information.
"ROBT. C. SCHENCK, Major-General, Commanding.
" [Copy of General Halleck's telegram.]
" Harper's Ferry is the important place. Winchester is no importance other than as a lookout . The Winchester troops, excepting enough to serve as an outpost, should be withdrawn to Harper's Ferry. No large amount of supplies should be left it any exposed position.
"H. W. HALLECK, "