my medical director against further marching of the command without one day's rest, a halt was called for the 29th. Hundreds of stragglers and broken-down men from the Blenker division had been left along the road in the ascent of the mountain, and it was plain their condition demanded consideration. They were weak and reduced not only from recent fatigue and want of food, but from previous hardship and privation ont he route from the Potomac. I could no venture to proceed with them in disorder and with safety undertake the work in prospect.
During the day's delay an inspection was had and roll calls ordered in presence of officers specially designated for the purpose. The result disclosed material inaccuracies in return thus far accepted from General Blenker's command, and exhibited a falling off in the aggregate of effective force at this time most unwelcome. In Blenker's division the number reported present and fit for duty was below 6,000. As an accession, a remaining company of the Sixth Ohio Cavalry, having just obtain horses, joined at this camp.
While halting here at Fabius a party of Maryland cavalry, scouting well to the front, came upon a reconnoitering party of the enemy near Wardensville, and attacked them briskly. The enemy we're driven with a loss of 2 killed and several wounded; Colonel Downey, in command of our force, having his horse shot under him.
Later, upon the 29th, a dispatch sent forward from telegraph station brought an order from the President directing me, under date of the 29th, to halt my command at Moorefield, or otherwise, "if I heard of the enemy in the general direction Romney," to march upon him. This order was based upon the conclusion that Jackson had by this time pressed General Banks as far backward as Williamsport along the northern end of the parallelogram I have indicated. It having been subsequently ascertained, however, that the rebels were still occupied with their work in the valley of Winchester and Martinsburg the order was withdrawn, and I was again directed to move upon the enemy "by the best route I could."
On the 30th I moved forward with my command from Fabius. A renewed storm had made the roads heavy, and the march was most fatiguing. On the 31st my column passed the summit of the mountain between Lost River and Cedar Creek, marching most of the night, and closing up in a drenching rain and amid intense darkness at Cedar Creek. I had now reached the point indicated in the following telegrams;
WASHINGTON, May 29, 1862-[12 m.]
General McDowell's advance, if not checked by the enemy, should, or [and] probably will, be at Front Royal by 12 noon to-morrow. His force when up will be about 20,000.
Please have your force at Strasburg, or, if the route you are moving on does not lead to that point, as near Strasburg as the enemy may be by that time.
Your dispatch Numbers 30. received and satisfactory.
WASHINGTON, May 30, 1862-4 p. m.[2.30p. m.]
Yours saying you will reach Strasburg or vicinity at 5 p. m. Saturday has been received and sent to General McDowell, and he directe to act in view of it.
You must be up to time of your promise, if possible.
At Cedar Creek the road forks, one branch leading to Strasburg and the other in a northeasterly direction to Winchester. Expecting to