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Headquarters Army of Northern Virginia,

July 4, 1863

Brig. Gen. J. D. Imboden, Commanding, &c.:


General: In pursuance of verbal directions given you last night, I desire you to take charge of the train belonging to this army, which I have directed to be assembled in the vicinity of Cashtown this afternoon.

I advise that you start the train at least by 5 p.m. to-day, and endeavor to push it through to Greencastle by to-morrow morning by the road turning off at Greenwood. Thence you can follow the direct road to Williamsport, where the train must be put across the Potomac at once, and advance beyond Falling Waters, whence it can proceed more leisurely to Winchester. It will be necessary to escort it beyond Martinsburg, at least as far as Bunker Hill. I have directed two batteries to report to you this afternoon, to accompany the train, so that you may have sufficient artillery to guard the front and rear, and distribute along at intervals, in order to repel any attack that may be made along the line by parties of the enemy. I advise that in turning off at Greenwood you have your scouts out on the Chambersburg road until the rear of your train has passed it, and that you also keep scouts out on your left toward Waynesborough. From Greencastle you had better send a scouting party through Hagerstown, and hold that place until the train shall have crossed the river. At the river you can post your artillery to hold the ford, keeping out your scouts toward Hagerstown, Boonsborough, &c., until further orders. After the train has reached a place of safety, you can return to the Maryland side, taking position in front of Hagerstown, so as to keep open communications. I need not caution you as to preserving quiet and order in your train, secrecy of your movements, promptness and energy, and increasing vigilance on the part of yourself and officers. I inclose a letter to the commanding officer at Winchester, which I wish you would forward to him immediately upon crossing the river, unless you can find opportunity to send it securely before.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,


R. E. Lee,





Source: The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Series 1, Vol. 27, Part 3, pp. 966-967


Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2016 July 4