War of the Rebellion: Serial 005 Page 1106

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Page 1106
OPERATIONS IN MD., N. VA., AND W. VA. Chapter XIV.

[Inclosure.]

HEADQUARTERS AQUIA DISTRICT,.

Fredericksburg, March 14, 1862.

General R. E. LEE, Commanding Army:.

GENERAL: Since the withdrawal of Generals Whiting and French from Evansport and its vicinity the enemy have crossed the river in large force, and have also advanced from the direction of Manassas as far as Brentsville. This would seem to indicate that their efforts against Richmond will be via Fredericksburg. Last night I called Generals Whiting and French and Colonels Hampton and Pettigrew in consultation. These gentlemen had served all the fall and winter between Aquia and the Occoquan, and were thus perfectly conversant with the country and everything belonging to its defense. The unanimous result of the conference was-

1st. Fredericksburg per se is untenable; it can only be defended by a force strong enough to attack the enemy's advance north of the Rappahannock..

2nd. The present disposition of the enemy's forces would seem to indicate that his advance will be in three columns, i. e., from Manassas, Evansport, and from below Potomac Creek. The two first are most serious, and if they move simultaneously absolutely necessitates the assistance of our main body to the force now about Fredericksburg; and this assistance should be given as soon as it is ascertain there is no mistake in this programme. You are aware that the Fredericksburg there is a large depot, well supplied with everything necessary for troops, which, independently of the interests of its noble, zealous, and true hearted people, makes its preservation and defense a matter of much importance, and which can only be effected by winning a battle before the enemy arrive, the town being perfectly commanded by the heights on the opposite bank of the river..

I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,.

TH. H. HOLMES,.

Major-General.



Page 1106
OPERATIONS IN MD., N. VA., AND W. VA. Chapter XIV.