reported by your scout Dillard, for I think it impossible that so large an army should have so suddenly descended upon you without your knowledge, nor unless it was drawn from General Banks' column, without the knowledge either of General Jackson or General Ewell, which is not probable. I am at a loss to know from whence it came. It will be necessary for you to be vigilant, to carefully instruct your scouts, and to punish them if they bring you false information. If there is but a brigade opposed to you you can resist it, and should it even be larger, by a combined movement of General Ewell and yourself you can crush it. Correspond with General Ewell on the subject. If the enemy should prove too strong for you to resist fall back slowly and in order, securing all your property, and call to your aid the citizens in your vicinity. It will be well for you to re-establish the telegraphic communication at some point on the road where the ground is favorable for you to make a stand, in order that you may communicate more rapidly with General Ewell and with the Department. I will direct the operator to return to you with this instruments. As already advised, two regiments of infantry, a battery of light artillery, and a body of horse will be sen to to the Hanover Junction. Two regiments of a year's service will be there in a few days, all of which you can call to your support, if necessary.
I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
R. E. LEE,
Richmond, Va., April 19, 1862.
Brigadier General C. W. FIELD,
Commanding, &c., near Fredericksburg:
GENERAL: Since my letter of this morning I have received verbal reports of the evacuation of Fredericksburg, which have caused me regret. I wish you to give an official account, that I may have a true state of the case on record-the number of the enemy, manner of approach, and when first discovered.
In securing the stores those most valuable ought to be first removed, and it is necessary to give particular attention to all kinds of ammunition.
I have the honor to be, your obedient servant,
R. E. LEE,
BRIGADE HEADQUARTERS SPOTSYLVANIA COUNTY,
Telegraph Road, 14 miles from Fredericksburg, April 20, 1862.
GENERAL: I fell back to this place on yesterday in order to get behind several streams which are rendered impassable by heavy reins. The point selected is very favorable for a stand against superior forces.
I have reliable information of the strength of the enemy at Fredericksburg as 5,000; eight pieces of artillery not yet crossed over.
Reports of landing of troops at Aquia Creek probably not true. In the skirmish the enemy lost 20 or 30, most, if not all, killed; our loss trifling.
I am, general,
CHAS. W. FIELD,