press to General Fremont his thanks for the pontoon train, which arrived promptly, and, under the energetic charge of Lieutenant Robinson, was speedily put together for immediate use.
I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
EDWARD F. BLAKE,
Major and Actg. Asst. Adjt. General, First Brigade.
WINCHESTER, June 13-4 p. m.
MY DEAR SIR: Yours of the 12th I have just received. I know nothing of the plan of defense adopted by the Government except by telegrams from the President that one was being considered, pending which I was to place my command on the Shenandoah at or opposite Front Royal. We know nothing of Shields' movements toward Richmond, but hear, via Front Royal, he is at Luray. I concur with you entirely in the suggestion of the impolicy of divided commands, and hope that system will be abandoned at once. General Sigel's orders are like mine at present. Mount Jackson is not a position to meet the enemy, unless he moves directly down the pike. The strong position, we think, is near middletown, which commands all the valleys that open upon the North Branch of the Shenandoah. I will see General Sigel this evening. Your movements have had a splendid success.
N. P. BANKS.
WINCHESTER, June 17, 1862.
General Shields and 8,000 men are at Front Royal. Jackson in large force at Luray. Rumors from significant sources say the enemy is working into your rear. Dispatch from General Banks says it will be impossible to get re-enforcements.
R. MORRIS COPELAND,
Assistant Adjutnat-General and Major.
WASHINGTON, June 12, 1862.
Accounts, which we do not credit, represent that Jackson is largely re-enforced and turning upon you. Get your forces well in hand and keep us well and frequently advised, and if you find yourself really pressed by a superior force of the enemy fall back cautiously toward or to Winchester, and we will have in due time Banks in position to sustain you. Do not fall back of Harrisonburg unless upon tolerably clear necessity. We understand Jackson is on the other side of the Shenandoah from you, and hence cannot in any event press you into any necessity of a precipitate withdrawal.
P. S.-Your, preferring Mount Jackson to Harrisonburg, is just received. On this point use your discretion, remembering that our object is to give such protection as you can to Western Virginia. Many thanks to yourself, officers, and men for the gallant battle of last Sunday.