War of the Rebellion: Serial 045 Page 1088 Chapter XXXIX. N. C., VA., W. VA., MD., PA., ETC.

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JULY 3, 1863-6. 30 a. m.

A. H. CALDWELL:

There are several important cipher messages here. I am instructed by the commanding general to say that your immediate presence here is required. Headquarters at the same place as yesterday, near Gettysburg.

Very respectfully, &c.,

S. WILLIAMS,

Assistant Adjutant-General.

(Similar letter sent to Mr. Pierce.)

CIRCULAR.]

JULY 3, 1863-9, 15 a. m.

The commanding general has observed that many men, when their commands are not actively engaged, have their arms and equipments off. He therefore directs that corps commanders keep their troops under arms, and in all respects equipped to move at a moment's notice.

By command of Major-General Meade:

S. WILLIAMS,

Assistant Adjutant-General.

WASHINGTON CITY,

July 6, 1863.

Major-General HALLECK,

General-in-Chief U. S. Army:

DEAR SIR: I fear that in my brief statement this morning I did not express clearly the idea I intended to convey.

I did not mean to suggest that the principle of concentration should be violated, for I am aware that in this has heretofore consisted the enemy's strength and our weakness.

My idea it this: Lee left Gettysburg Saturday morning, in retreat; Meade, on Sunday, more than one day behind. Lee would have nearly reached Hagerstown before Meade started from Gettysburg. From Hagerstown to South Mountain Gap. or from Frederick to the same point the distance is about 13 miles.

Lee could reach the gap of South Mountain a day ahead of Meade, unless the gap was occupied by French, and I was not aware of the fact until to-day that he had such orders. By holding Meade in check at the gaps of South Mountain for a few days, the fords would become passable, and Lee could cross the Potomac.

Once across he would move more rapidly than we could follow, and instead of attempting it. Meade would probably move on the inside track, east of Blue Ridge. In this condition of affairs, the railroad would be indispensable, and as the country must now be nearly clear of the enemy, a very small force could occupy the gaps

of the Blue Ridge, make descents into the valley to cut off any trains of supplies sent to relieve Lee, and put Manassas Gap and the Orange and Alexandria Railroads in condition for use, if sudden demands should be made upon them. Even if Lee's army should be captured or dispersed north of the Potomac, I suppose the railroads would be required for a movement south, to strike rapidly and follow up our advantages until every stronghold had fallen and the rebellion com-