War of the Rebellion: Serial 018 Page 0376 OPERATIONS IN N. VA., W. V., AND MD. Chapter XXIV.

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HDQRS. DEPARTMENT OF THE RAPPAHANNOCK,

Manassas, June 12, 1862-5 p. m.

Honorable E. M. STANTON,

Secretary of War:

I have received the telegram from Major-General McClellan and Major General Banks you sent me this morning.

The enemy's telegram from Staunton to Governor Letcher at Richmond for re-enforcements seems to indicate there was no body of troops between Jackson and Richmond. This is not conclusive, but probable. General McClellan's opinion that some troops left Richmond to join Jackson is strong presumptive evidence that they intend to strengthen their forces in the valley, thought hardly by Longstreet's and Smith's divisions; perhaps it is only to make good Jackson's losses. General Fremont's intention to occupy Mount Jackson and his desire that General Banks should join him there, and the latter's wish to occupy either Middletown or Winchester, and his opinion adverse to occupying Front Royal, see, to indicate that both these commanders intend, or wish, to remain on the west side of the Shenandoah. If they can supply themselves by way of Winchester and Strasburg, and relinquish the road from Manassas to Front Royal town, their plan will have the advantage of having their forces move together in better supporting distance and less liable to attacks in detail; but in that case it seems to me that as all the forces of both these commanders would be on the same line, they might occupy in force a position farther in advance than Mount Jackson, so as to be able to fall on the rear of any force to Washington to enable the President's plan concerning my command to be carried into effect.

If, under the belief of an advance of a superior force, General Fremont falls back to Mount Jackson, which is within the Massanutten Range, General Shields' division is not safe at Luray, especially since the bridges over the Shenandoah are down and the communication is cut off, and he too far distant to be supported from Catlett's. I have sent to him to know if the has a good defensible position at Luray, and have delayed the movement of Rickett's two brigades from Front Royal to Catlett's, and ordered him to be ready to move to Luray.

But all this is interfering with the main plan, and if Generals Fremont and Banks think they can better operate both together west of the Shenandoah, I would recommend that no bridge be rebuilt over the Shenandoah at Front Royal; that Front Royal and the line from Manassas and Front Royal be abandoned, and that I at once bring my forces over to this line. The position now held on the left bank of the Shenandoah near Front Royal by Brigadier-General Crawford is strong. Shields' division greatly reduced and broken.

IRVIN McDOWELL,

Major-General, Commanding Department of the Rappahannock.

NEAR NEW MARKET, June 12, 1862.

Colonel E. SCHRIVER, Chief of Staff;

COLONEL: In the rapid marches which I have of late been making, without rations and without shoes or nails, my horses and men have