Harrison's, May 26, 1862.
DEAR GENERAL: I have just received your note of to-day. I fear that the enemy will come no nearer than Pettigrew's position. It is scarcely worth while to prepare for his reception nearer. That position is now nearer than I intended it should be. It is well to have the ground immediately in your front prepared, but I think that if we fight near this place it must be by going forward a little way to attack. I fear a line of countervallation is McClellan's scheme.
Your regiments on the central and Charles City roads should have their distance from you regulated by Pettigrew's. If he is attacked it will probably be necessary for you to move forward.
J. E. JOHNSTON.
HEADQUARTERS RIGHT WING,
Fairfield, May 26, 1862.
SIR: In answer to Major-General Smith's communication of this afternoon I have to say that by the words used by me,
Our troops were withdrawn in obedience to General Smith's orders,
I mean that General Smith had given orders that troops should fall back in certain cases, and that the case provided for by General Smith having occured, our troops were withdrawn accordingly.
For instance General Smith directed that Mechanicsville-
Should not be given up except in case of a real attack in force,
Colonel Robertson reported that he was attacked by the enemy advancing in force, with cavalry, artillery, and infantry, and that he was then engaged, and asked for re-enforcements. I directed him to withdraw his force, in accordance with General Smith's orders, a copy of which orders I had sent in full to Colonel robertson, in lieu of any and all instructions on this subject from myself.
Had it been left to me I should have re-enforced Colonel Robertson, but having been refused permission to cross over any more of my troops than two regiments, and having been told to obey orders, I was compelled to refuse re-enforcements, and to inform Colonel Robertson that he must fall back to Meadow Bridges.
The order thus given by me to Colonel robertson was not my order, but the order of my superior in rank. I said that it was the order of General Smith, as I received it from him, as above explained.
I hope I have made myself sufficiently clear to be understood; it is my earnest desire to do so.
I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
J. BANKHEAD MAGRUDER,
Major-General, Commanding Right Wing.
Junction, May 26, 1862.
General L. O'B. BRANCH:
GENERAL: general J. R. Anderson, commanding, directs me to say that his force will be transported down the Richmond, Fredericksburg