JUNE 18, 1863-10. 45 a. m.
Mr. [L. A.] GOBRIGHT,
Agent Associated Press, Washington:
Please have the following dispatch telegraphed confidentially to the editors throughout the country:
Major-General, Chief of Staff.
GENTLEMEN: I have particularly to request that the following rules may be observed in publishing anything concerning this army or its movements:
1. Under no circumstances should be published the location of any corps, division, brigade, or regiment, and especially is the location of my headquarters never to be named excepting during a fight.
2. That official reports, when furnished without the sanction of the War Department, may never be published. After any fight the reporters can open their fire as loudly as they please, but avoid, unless it is a general battle, giving the designations of forces engaged. Require all reporters' signatures to their published letters. These rules being observed, every facility possible will be given to reporters and newspapers in this army, including the license to abuse or criticize me to their heart's content.
HEADQUARTERS PICKET RESERVE,
June 18, 1863-12 m.
Lieutenant JOHN M. CLARK,
Acting Assistant Adjutant -General:
LIEUTENANT: In accordance with directions from the commanding officer of the brigade, I report the facts in regard to the capture of Major [William R.] Sterling and Captain Fisher, as related to me by the people of the house where they were taken. Major Sterling and Captain Fisher were on their way to communicate with General Pleasonton, when they halted at the residence of Mr. [Almond] Birch for supper, and to inquire how far it was to Aldie. Having finished their supper, they started for their horses, which were left with their orderly at the yard gate. The horses and orderly had been removed, and before Major Sterling and Captain Fisher had reached the gate, 10 or 12 cavalrymen seized them, and hurriedly mounted them and bore them off. This took place last evening at 10 o'clock, about 400 yards from the picket outpost, at the house of Mr. Birch, on the Little River turnpike. Mr. Birch and family are from Clifton Park, Saratoga Country, N. Y. They are Union people, known to some of the officers of our regiment.
I am satisfied that these people had no complicity with this affair, and had no knowledge of the enemy being anywhere near their house.
The capture of these officers appears to have been as unexpected to the enemy as it was to the officers captured, since the enemy was unaware of our forces being so near.
I also report that I have re-established the picket line in some respects since coming upon duty this morning, so as among other points to include the house of Mr. Birch. All is quiet upon the line.
I am, most respectfully, your obedient servant,
JAMES C. RICE,
Colonel, Commanding Outposts.