War of the Rebellion: Serial 015 Page 0017 Chapter XXIV. GENERAL REPORTS.

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to General McDowell Captain Howard, of my staff, with orders substantially to the above effect. A copy of his reply, declining to recognize authority on my part, here follows:


Front Royal, June 6, 1862.

Major General J. C. FREMONT

Commanding Mountain Department, Mount Jackson, Va.

GENERAL: I received to-day a letter from your acting assistant adjutant-general ordering me in your name to send some of my troops to Strasburg. Before the receipt of this paper i had written to Major-General Banks, commanding Department of the Shenandoah, at Winchester, calling his attention to this point, for such action in the case as he might see fit to take. I did this after failing, on account of the bridges being carries away and all communication cut off, to get the prisoners transferred to this place to send them to Washington.

I beg you to call the attention of your staff officer to the terms he has employed in his communication to me, making it in the nature of a positive, peremptory order, as if to me under your command. Being like yourself the commander of a separate, independent military geographical department, with certain troops assigned to me by the Secretary of War, and being here in a neighboring department for a special temporary purpose, under the direct orders and instructions of the President, I cannot receive orders from any officer save in the accidental temporary case provided for in the Sixty-second article of war-a case which arose when you came in constant with my cavalry brigade at Strasburg.

In reference to this brigade I have the honor to refer to General Orders, Numbers 29, of March 22, 1862, and say that i wish you would direct this brigade to march at the first opportunity to join Major-General Shields at Luray Court-House, it being necessary there to further the instructions under which I am acting.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your most obedient servant,


Major-General, Commanding Department Rappahannock.

Of the operations of General McDowel through the column of General Shields up the valley of Luray the value will hereafter be seen.

From General Banks, to whom i had in like manner sent a messenger, a reply, though exhibiting the utmost cordiality, informed me that he was "without supplies or transportation and unable to move." He would, however, endeavor to send me some cavalry.

General Sigel, subsequently addressed, although he would "try his best," found his troops in a condition such as would render them "an incumbrance and not a help to me."

It was not until after I had left Mount Jackson that any of the dispatches embodying the above were received; but the fact stood that at the date of my departure from this town (June 5) the contest with jackson, so far as concerned Shenandoah Valley proper, remained upon my hands. although I had crossed the mountains on an errand of aid to others, I found myself without conjunction or combination either with the forces relieved or with a force sent toward the same object as my own from an opposite direction. I present the point with the object only that it may be both understood and realized, and with no other. On the 5th of June, then, crossing safely the bridge of pontoons, my column, with scarcely more than half the numbers of the enemy in advance, retook the trail and pushed steadily forward. A lapse of more than thirty hours since the burning of the main bridge over the Shenandoah had given the enemy an advantage he proved not slow to use. He was not overtaken upon the 5th, and having made 18 miles and passing on the way the enemy's fires still burning, my command was bivouacked beyond New Market, the enemy's camp being but a few miles ahead.

On the 6th I was enabled by an early and rapid march restore the lost contact. Our progress was a little retarded by the burned and