on Banks. But you will not, in an demonstration you may make in that direction, lose sight of the fact that it may become necessary for you to come to the support of General Johnston, and hold yourself in readiness to do so if required. There are indications of an intention on the part of McClellan to move his army to the James River. The gunboats attacked our battery on that river about 8 miles below the city yesterday and retired after a cannonade of two hours and a half, having sustained some damage, as is reported. The two signal-men ordered to you and a third subsequently sent were directed to proceed to Swift Run Gape, and may be with General Ewell. Whatever movement you make against Banks do it speedily, and if successful drive him back toward the Potomac, and create the impression, as far as practicable, that you design threatening that line.
I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
R. E. LEE,
LACEY SPRING, May 16, 1862.
Major JAMES BARBOUR:
DEAR SIR: You will please inform the general that I have moved to this point on my way to New Market and Luray, but will wait here till my companies with General Jackson, expected to-day, come up, when I will move by way of Luray to Fauquier. I have three companies down below Mount Jackson scouting. Banks has sent another re-enforcement to Milroy to Moorefield; under these circumstances I thought it best not to leave this road until I had followed down their column as far as Strasburg, so as to cause them to believe you were behind them upon this road, and also to give your wagons an opportunity to get over the mountain, if they come this way. Please let me know if the obstructions have been or are being removed from Thornton's Gap, so that I can cross there.
LEBANON WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS,
May 16, 1862.
Major General R. S. EWELL:
GENERAL: A dispatch received from Ashby states that neither Banks nor Shields has left the valley, but that Banks has sent some artillery and infantry toward Moorefield. This being the case, I have directed Ashby not to leave the valley, but to cut off communication between Banks and myself. You will, it appears to me, be able to break up the Manassas Gap Railroad easily (without Ashby's command) to such as extent as to prevent its being used for some time. Please let me know what the prospect is for this. The high water, I fear, will delay me some, but I design moving, via Harrisonburg, down the valley, and it may be that a kind Providence will enable us to unite and strike a successful blow.
Very truly, yours,
T. J. JACKSON.