and recruits, arrived since the 22nd instant, amounts to about 23,000; that near Fredericksburg, according to Major-General Holmes, to about 12,000. Major-General Jackson has been falling back for a few days before a greatly superior force. His strength on the 28th February was about 5,000.
If summoned to Richmond, I shall leave on this frontier only such a force as is now employed on outpost duty, for the mere purpose of masking the movement. That will enable me to take to Richmond at least 25,000 men, after the return of Brigadier-General Jones, just ordered with about 5,000 men to the Blue Ridge, to support General Jackson.
Most respectfully, your obedient servant,
J. E. JOHNSTON,
HEADQUARTERS THIRD DIVISION, March 26, 1862.
General JOSEPH E. JOHNSTON:
GENERAL: On Tuesday, 25th instant, I went toward Manassas, and derived information respecting the enemy from a Mr. Butler, whose brother lives near Manassas, and from a Mr. Davidson, who was arrested as a spy by the Yankees and treated very badly, his horse's tail and mane being shaved.
General French, with a brigade, is at Manassas. General Sumner was expected to cross Bull Run to Tuesday. Two of the regiment are from Pennsylvania; others from New York City. The cavalry is estimated at 2,000; the horses look very well. Soldiers are in good spirits, saying they do not expect another battle will be fought. They estimate their reserves along the railroad and at Alexandria at 200,000. The late retreat was owing to the difficulty of getting food. They are working very slowly at Bull Run Bridge, apparently for effect. No other repairs are going on.
They expect Banks continually, and all the soldiers now at Manassas look to be removed to another point.
Pickets extend a mile or so from Manassas. Scouting parties come to Broad Run. They are searching the houses for concealed Southern property. They say they will arrest all who gave money to the army or had sick soldiers at their houses last summer. Their health is, and, as they say, has been, good. They have a great deal of artillery with them. The negroes come in in shoals, and are immediately told to go to the rear.
The above information is up to Monday, the 24th instant.
A command, size unknown, marched up the railroad this morning with drums. They were 3 miles above Bristoe.
MARCH 27, 1862.
Respectfully submitted for the information of the President. the writer is the brother of Major-General Ewell. His residence is about 8 miles from Manassas, in the direction of Warrenton.
J. E. JOHNSTON.
26 R R-VOL XI, PT III