Boyd has been at Waynesborough to-day. He has some wagons. General Knipe says he will report by letter to General Meade. He must not do that, but remain with you, by my orders.
I sent you dispatch as regards your retiring in certain contingencies. Let me know if you want beef-cattle.
I shall throw troops down the Valley. There sill be heavy fighting at Williamsport. Lee has no bridges; so said.
D. N. COUCH,
HARRISBURG, July 7, 1863.
Colonel PIERCE, Loudon:
Boyod has been at Waynesborough, and made some captures. Communicate with him.
The enemy are in full retreat, but probably a large cavalry force will cover their rear. Have your infantry in such position along the mountain roads as to support your cavalry, and whip any force of horse sent against you.
Our forces are moving on to Hagerstown or vicinity. Send in your prisoners and surplus teams.
D. N. COUCH,
HEADQUARTERS, Loudon, July 7, 1863-midnight.
Scout sent out by me this morning, according to your orders, went to Clear Spring to-day, 6 miles from Williamsport. Reliable Union citizens, acquaintances of mine, informed him that Imboden was at Williamsport, with 5, 000 wagons, guarded by 7, 000 men, with sixteen pieces of artillery. After exhausting every available means of transportation, he had succeeded, up to noon to-day, in passing but very few citizens, only 3 wagons, and about 20 men. Report that General French failed in his attempt to reach Imboden, after considerable cannonading and cavalry skirmishing, on yesterday, near Williamsport. The Potomac is still rising, the rains being heavy in all the region clear to Hancock.
I respectfully suggest to the general commanding the propriety of sending such a force of infantry from my command down to the mountains overlooking Clear Spring, as can be subsisted by the country, and will probably be sufficient to check the enemy in any attempt to take their trains in the direction of Hancock. I will send my cavalry as near Hagerstown, or in that direction, as prudent regard for the safety of the command will permit. I think an advance by General Kelley's force, via Hancock, upon Clear Spring would be of infinite service in the capture of Lee's forces.
L. B. PIERCE,
WAYNESBOROUGH, PA., July 7, 1863. (Received July 8, 3 a. m.)
Acting Chief of Staff:
SIR: I marched my command from Fairfield to Waynesborough to-day, and just missed capturing the rear guard of Lee's army,