HEADQUARTERS SECOND CORPS, Near Thoroughfare Gap, Va.,
June 23, 1863.
Brigadier General S. WILLIAMS,
GENERAL: I transmit you by telegraph my indorsement upon General French's application for a higher command, which has just been received, and upon which I am required to express certain opinion. This in order to save time in the return of the original communication. When the application of General French for a higher command was first received, I indorsed upon it a suggestion that if General French's rank did not entitle him to a higher command than that of a division, it would be well to reduce the three divisions of this corps to two, suggesting that General French and General Gibbon should command those divisions, but I afterward thought it might weaken General French's application, which was a personal one. I therefore tore off the indorsement, and forwarded it without remark. I now recommend that the two oldest divisions of this corps-First (originally Sumner's), consisting of four brigades; Second (originally Sedgwick's), three brigades-retain their organizations, and that the Third Division (two brigades), dating from Antietam, be distributed between the other two, which would not interfere with the numbers of the First and Second Divisions, and would give General French the First Division. There are nine brigades in the three divisions now. I would prefer, on account of the good commanders that we might get, to retain this number of brigades in the two divisions. The ninth brigade might, if the General-in-Chief thought proper, be places under command of Colonel Miles, Sixty-first New York Volunteers, who is now here, and for service might be used as light troops, for advanced guards, &c., although its papers would show it to be an integral part of the First Division (General French's). I believe that number of brigades would make the corps much more effective than a smaller number. General Caldwell ranks General Gibbon, and would, therefore, either have to command a brigade in the First Division, where he now it is, or be detached, to which I have no objection. The latter would be the best course. In breaking up the Third (French's division), I would, of course, give him Carroll's Western brigade, which is the important one of the two. This consolidation would considerably reduce the means of transportation. I AM, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
WINF'D S. HANCOCK,
Major-General, Commanding Corps.
WASHINGTON, June 23, 1863.
J. H. DEVEREUX, Esq., Superintendent of Railroads, Alexandria:
General Hooker will be detained until 7 o'clock this evening. Please have the car at foot of Fourteenth street for him at that hour. I will go out at 5 a. m. to-morrow, as before agreed upon.
Brigadier-General, Chief Quartermaster.