FREDERICK CITY, July 8, 1863-12. 30 a. m.
General HERMAN HAUPT:
I know nothing of the detention of trains at Sandy Hook, beyond the fact that there was some skirmishing there on the reoccupation of the Heights.
At this place the troops on arriving had to draw rations to fill their haversacks before I would send them where there were none. Had this been attended to at Baltimore and Washington, it would have obviated a delay here.
i rode to Monocacy myself early this morning, and regulated matters there. I doubt if there will be a recurrence of the difficulty.
WM. H. FRENCH,
[P. S.]-I leave to-morrow for the front.
FREDERICK, July 8, 1863. (Received 3. 40 p. m.)
M. C. MEIGS,
The difficulty here arose from the detention of twenty trains at Frederick, while fifteen more were on the road, bound west. General French should have allowed the first trains to be unloaded and sent back, and taken others for troops when he was ready for them. The Cumberland Valley road is now becoming an important route. I am needed here no longer. The blockade is relieved. Fifteen or more trains have been returned, and I anticipate no further trouble. I will return immediately, go to Harrisburg, and push through the line to Hagerstown as fast as we can get possession. We should be able to capture many prisoners and take wagons and ambulances, and perhaps artillery, before the enemy can cross the river. The late rains and bad roads will help us, but I do not believe we can prevent Lee's army from crossing. I could build trestle-bridges of round sticks, and floor with fence rails. It is too much to assume that the rebels cannot do the same. If they get across, we should not follow at their heels, but strike at once for White Plains, use the railroad from that point, and head them off at Staunton. It seems to me that every effort must be made be the rebels to save Lee by sending him supplies via the Shenandoah Valley.
If we could find force enough to occupy the passes of the Blue Ridge, we could capture supply trains, and reduce the rebels to such a state of destitution as would compel a surrender. Our course seems to me to be a clear one, and, if you concur in this opinion, I hope you will talk it over with General Halleck.
In making your arrangements, if it becomes necessary to send troops from this vicinity to be transported south over the Orange and Alexandria Railroad, much time and confusion will be saved by marching to White Plains. They should not be sent through Washington by rail. I have mentioned this to Ingalls, and he concurs in the opinion.
39 R R-VOL XXVII, PT III