Pierce to Couch, Loudon, July 7, 1863
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.
L. B. PIERCE,
NEILL to WARREN AoP 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, which left at 10 a. m. this morning. The whole of the rebel army is by this time at least as far as Hagerstown to-morrow. The whole of the rebel army have taken the pike toward Hagerstown, and I believe they are making rapidly, but in tolerably good order, toward Williamsport. Captain [George C.] Cram, now prisoner of war at Monterey, states that the discipline of the enemy seems to be very much relaxed. In the last two days I have taken a great many prisoners, or, rather, deserters, from the rebels.
THOS. H. NEILL,
Halleck To Meade, Washington, D. C., July 7, 1863.
I have received from the President the following note, which I respectfully communicate.
"We have certain information that Vicksburg surrendered to General Grant on the 4th of July. Now, if General Meade can complete his work so gloriously prosecuted thus far by the literal or substantial destruction of Lee's army, the rebellion will be over."
Meade To Halleck, Frederick, Md., July 7, 1863
General Buford reports that he attacked Williamsport yesterday, but found it guarded by a large force of infantry and artillery. Heavy forces were coming into Williamsport all night. French having destroyed their bridges, the river being unfordable, they are crossing in country flatboats—a slow operation. My army will be assembling tomorrow at Middletown; I will immediately move on Williamsport. Should the enemy succeed in crossing the river before I can reach him, I should like to have your views of subsequent operations—whether to follow up the army in the valley or cross below or near Washington.