Monday, April 7, 2014

April 7, 1864: The Army of the Potomac prepares to move

Major General George G. Meade
With Ulysses S. Grant planning an offensive in Virginia, Major General George G. Meade began preparing the Army of the Potomac for a forward movement. The army had acquired a lot of extra baggage during its time in winter camp, and Meade ordered this extra baggage sent to the rear.
GENERAL ORDERS, Numbers 17. HDQRS. ARMY OF THE POTOMAC,
April 7, 1864.

I. In view of the near approach of the time when this army may be expected to resume active operations, corps and other independent commanders will cause the public and private property for which transportation is not authorized by existing orders to be sent to the rear with as little delay as practicable.

Store-houses are provided in Alexandria, under the charge of Captain J. G. C. Lee, assistant quartermaster, for the storage of all legitimate surplus or extra private and public property, such as officers' trunks and boxes and regimental property that will not be transported in wagons on a march. Officers will be restricted to a moderate allowance of bedding and mess articles, and to a valise or carpet-bag for extra clothing. All property sent to the rear must be plainly marked, stating whether private or public, name of owner, corps, division, brigade, regiment, company, and contents. It will be turned over to the nearest depot quartermaster, who will give transportation receipts for the same to Alexandria; when it reaches the latter place, a store-house receipt will be forwarded to the owner or responsible officer, who will thus be enabled to withdraw it at the proper time without the necessity of visiting the depots in person. Office wagons having been furnished to the headquarters of each corps, most, if not all, of the desks and tables heretofore used in offices will be sent to the rear.

II. All sutlers and their employes will leave the army by the 16th instant, and should sutlers be found with the army after that date, their goods will be confiscated for the benefit of the hospitals, and their employes will be placed, by the provost-marshal-general, at hard labor.

III. After the 16th instant, the provost-marshal-general will recall the permits heretofore given to citizens to remain with the army, Government employes, members of the Sanitary and Christian Commissions, and the registered newspaper correspondents excepted.

IV. Paragraph 2 of General Orders, Numbers 62, of June 12, 1863, from these headquarters, is republished for general information, it being as follows:

Every commanding officers is required by paragraph 5, General Orders, Numbers 56, to send to the provost-marshal-general every citizen found within his lines without a proper permit, and the provost-marshal-general is hereby instructed to put every person so delivered, and every unauthorized person hereafter found within the limits of this army to hard labor on the Government works or in the quartermaster's department.

V. The authority heretofore delegated to corps commanders to grant leaves of absence and furloughs is revoked, except as to furloughs to re-enlisted veterans, and, with this exception, until further orders, no leaves of absence or furloughs will be granted save in extreme cases. In such cases corps commanders may grant leaves and furloughs, subject to the limitations as to time established by General Orders, Numbers 3, of January 30, 1863, from these headquarters.

VI. Corps and other independent commanders will send to these headquarters, with as little delay as practicable, lists showing the names and regiments of officers and enlisted men doing duty in their respective commands who belong to regiments serving in other armies or departments. Such lists will also show the circumstances under which such officers and men have been detained with this army.

VII. So far as practicable, each command will furnish its own details for every kind of extra or special service. Officers and men now doing duty in one corps, belonging to regiments serving in another, will, unless specially assigned from these headquarters, be returned to their regiments, aides-de-camp of general officers and men on duty with the batteries excepted.

VIII. Paragraph 4 of General Orders, Numbers 11, of February 11, 1863, from headquarters,+ respecting the sale and issue of subsistence stores to citizens, will not be so construed as to authorize such sales and issues to be made to persons residing without the line of cavalry pickets.

IX. Paragraph 2 of General Orders, Numbers 12, of March 29, 1864, from these headquarters, is so far amended as to direct that in the cavalry and infantry corps a board be appointed in each division, by the division commander, for the examination of applications for transfer to the Navy. The reports of such boards to be forwarded as directed in the above-mentioned paragraph.

By command of Major-General Meade:

S. WILLIAMS,

Assistant Adjutant-General.

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