to Gordonsville and the object in collecting it in that quarter. It was hoped that a favorable opportunity would have been presented for penetrating the country and cutting Banks' communication with Alexandria and relieving the pressure on Fredericksburg. General Ewell, in the event of a forward movement, would have communicated with you. He is now at Swift Run Gap, and may yet be detained there some days, as General Jackson has united with General Edward Johnson, and is driving the enemy back toward Cheat Mountains. As regards the force of the enemy opposite Fredericksburg, I have good reason to believe that it has been much exaggerated. From a secret agent, who has been through their lines, I learn that the force immediately opposite the town is not more than 3,600 or 3,700, and from 10,000 to 15,000 between that and the Potomac. It is stated that there is no intention of an advance by this column in this direction, but it is merely to divert our attention and withdraw troops from other sections. The agent also reports that this is the object of Banks' column. I think if McDowell was as strong as reported to you he would have crossed the Rappahannock before this. You must not, however, relax your watchfulness or fail to take advantage of any false step of the enemy, and will, of course, conform all your movements to the direction of General Johnston.
I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
R. E. LEE,
Richmond, Va., May 12, 1862.
General R. S. EWELL,
Commanding, &c., Swift Run Gap:
GENERAL: I am directed by General Lee to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 10th instant, and to say that he approved of your action in remaining in your present position so long as the enemy remains stationary in the valley or while it is necessary to the movements of General Jackson. His suggestions were based upon the supposition that the enemy should entirely leave the valley and General Jackson no longer requires the presence of your command at Swift Run Gap. As regards the need of light artillery with your command, the battery of Captain Carrington, now at Charlottesville, will, if ready for field service, be immediately ordered to report for duty at Gordonsville.
I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
W. H. TAYLOR,
NEAR FRANKLIN, May 12, 1862.
Major General R. S. EWELL:
MY DEAR GENERAL: Your dispatch respecting Banks having three days' rations cooked, &c., has been received. I am inclined to think that he is preparing to move back toward Winchester.
The enemy has been re-enforced, and will apparently give battle about 4 miles from here if I continue to press on. I expect to reconnoiter his position before advancing.
T. J. JACKSON.