Corps and division commanders should point out to their provost-marshall, respectively, their line of battle so soon as formed, that their guards, may be deployed in rear, at proper distances, to check disorder, and, in a crisis, to be put in with the troops. With their respective reserves the provost-marshalls should habitually be found.
Provost-marshall should keep themselves acquainted as to the position of the hospitals of their commands, making frequent inspections of the same, to see that no stragglers and skulkers are gathered there.
On marches, passes given by medical officers to fall out of the ranks are taken advantage of by the men, to quarter themselves at houses along the road, and at considerable distances from it, thus losing all knowledge of the whereabouts of their regiments.
Excepting in cases of absolute necessity, they should be prohibited from entering any house whatever, and this cannot be done so long as officers, both regimental and staff, are in the habit of congregating at houses along the line of march. Excepting for water, there is no need of stopping at private houses.
Teamsters and train guards are especially lawless in this respect, demanding food and committing depredations more than any other of our troops; quartermasters in charge of trains, in many instances, appearing to take no notice whatever of these acts.
All of which is respectfully submitted.
M. R. PATRICK,
HDQRS. LIGHT DIVISION, ARMY OF THE POTOMAC, July 9, 1863.
General S. WILLIAMS:
SIR: Badly [W. F.] Smith is here with his command. Colonel Gregg, with a brigade of cavalry, who leave for Boonsborough to-night, will send this. A scot brings information that Lee has one corps intrenched on the Williamsport pike from Hagerstown; another on the Boonsborough pike; and Early is said to be up toward Middleburg (quien sabe?), between Newcastle and Hagerstown.
The news of the capture of Vicksburg is confirmed. Have sent a cavalry reconnaissance toward Hagerstown this morning. It has no returned.
Since writing the above, have left the enemy's pickets with a regiment of cavalry at a bridge 4 or 5 miles from Hagerstown. They are stubborn. We drove them away, but they returned as we retired.
General Smith is in with his mixed command. Am delighted to have the benefit of his counsel and advice. We are all right; but watch Early's division on my right, toward Middleburg.
THOS. H. NEILL,
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC, July 9, 1863-9 a. m.
General WILLIAM F SMITH:
The army will occupy the line from Boonsborough to Rohrersville to-day. The army (both men and animals) is very much exhausted, and cannot advance as rapidly as desired. Although the informa-