War of the Rebellion: Serial 049 Page 0592 OPERATIONS IN N.C., VA.,W.VA., MD., AND PA. Chapter XLI.

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WAR DEPARTMENT, Washington City, December 31, 1863-4 p.m.

Major-General HUMPHREYS,

Chief of Staff:

Direct a strong brigade from the Sixth Corps to be immediately sent here by rail; the commandere to report to Major-General Augur by telegraph for orders.

Direct General Pleasonton to immediately send a division of cavalry into the Shenandoah Valley to cut off, if practicable, the retreat of Early's command reported at Winchester to-day. The division now in rear, Greeg's, will probably be the one most available. A portion of Merritt's, say one brigade, should be sent to hold the principal points now held by Gregg.

GEO. G. MEADE,

Major-General.

DECEMBER 31, 1863-5.30 p.m.

Commanding Officer Sixth Corps:

A dispatch from Major-General Meade just received. He orders that a strong brigade from the Sixth Corps be sent immediately by rail to Washington; it is wanted for immediate service in connection with the enemy, who, under General Early, are in Winchester to-day. The commander of the brigade will report immediately by telegraph to General Augur at Washington for orders. Hold two divisions raeady to move at a moment's notice, by rail or otherwise.

A. A. HUMPHREYS,

Major-General, and Chief of Staff.

DECEMBER 31, 1863-5.45 p.m.

(Received 9.20 p.m.)

Major-General MEADE,

Washington:

Your two dispatches were received together half an hour ago; the orders have been all issued and the brigade will leave to-night. The two divisions of infantry (excepting one brigade) will be held raedy to move at a moment's notice, and the arrangements for their transport made. No intelligence respecting General Early has been received since you left.

A. A. HUMPHREYS,

Major-General, and Chief of Staff.

DECEMBER 31, 1863-8.30 p.m.

(Received 9.30 p.m.)

Major-General MEADE,

Washington:

The brigade, 2,000 strong, General Wheaton commanding, is on its way to Brandy Station, and will leave there immediately upon arriving. The two divisions of infantry (less his brigade) are ready to move at a moment's notice, with a due portion of artillery, and