HARRISBURG, PA., July 6, 1863-8 a. m.
Commanding Army of the Potomac:
I have directed Smith not to join you, unless the enemy are in full retreat, when, if he can do more service, he will pitch in. I regret that you gave such an order, for he and myself think that he could do more good in our valley.
My forces near Mercersburg captured a small battery, 500 prisoners, and 100 wagons.
D. N. COUCH,
HARRISBURG, PA., July 6, 1863-10. 30 a. m. (Received, War Department, 11. 45 a. m.)
One hour ago the enemy were still retreating, through Fayetteville, toward the Potomac.
My people are entering Chambersburg.
D. N. COUCH,
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC, July 6, 1863-8 a. m.
Please report as soon as practicable the strength and position of the forces under your command on this side of the Susquehanna River, the direction in which they are moving, and your general plan or design for their movement. This is in accordance with the orders of the General-in-Chief [for me] to assume command of such of your forces as are operating in the field.
Very respectfully, &c.,
GEO. G. MEADE,
HARRISBURG, PA., July 6, 1863. (Copy received, War Department, 8 p. m.)
General GEORGE G. MEADE:
General Smith, on the 4th and 5th, received your order to join him. At 1 a. m. to-day I directed him to obey your orders, unless he found the enemy in retreat and could operate effectually where he had been ordered to strike-at Cashtown or Chambersburg. He should have nearly 10, 000 men, but one-half are very worthless, and 2, 000 cavalry, with a battery, can capture the whole party in an open country. This is why I put them in or near the mountains; there they could do service.
I have 2, 000 men here; 500 that ran so rapidly from Gettysburg, much demoralized, and one regiment New York troops that won't march' 3, 000 men nearly equipped, and probably 5, 000 at Reading are being equipped. Between Bedford and Milroy's men (Mercersburg) there may be 4, 000, 1, 500 of when are reported by the com-
37 R R-VOL XXVII, PT III