which knew the country better than any other troops I had, having campaigned all through the valley and been selected by me on this account, were sent via Catlett's.
The dispatches give so fully the history of the movements that it is hardly necessary to repeat them here.
It will be seen from those of the President that he wished I should get the advance of my force to Front Royal as early as noon on Friday. It will also be seen what efforts it required to accomplish this. The troops went over the Blue Ridge without other supplies than what they carried on their persons. Ord's division were required to leave their knapsacks behind. This division, having left the Rappahannock to come up to Washington and Alexandria by water, did not take their supply or baggage wagons with them, and had to depend on the railroad till the train I had taken from the depot at Alexandria could arrive, and we found the railroad destroyed by the enemy beyond Rectortown. The evidence of Generals Haupt and Hartsuff and my dispatches to the President and Secretary of War will show that I urged this movement with all the force possible, and that the point was gained an hour before the time appointed, Kimball's brigade and Shields' division driving the enemy out of Front Royal at 11 a. m. on Friday, May 30.
Ord's division got to within a few miles of Front Royal Saturday night, May 31.
That night I reached Front Royal after dark, in the midst of a furious storm. It was arranged, after consulting that same night with General Shields, that on the morning he should take his division, which had all arrived, to Strasburg, and I would, as soon as Ord's could come up next day, send it over to hold the Winchester road, and support the cavalry under Bayard, which I would send in that direction.
Front Royal is on the east bank of the South Fork of the Shenandoah. Strasburg is on the west side of the North Fork of the Shenandoah and several miles beyond.
The next morning, as the troops were moving out, two of General Shields' officers came in from near Strasburg, where the general had sent them to reconnoiter, and reported that the enemy had passed though last night and his rear guard was passing through as they left.
I immediately pushed Bayard's cavalry brigade, eight pieces of artillery, and a battalion of riflemen, who were the most movable of any of the troops at hand, to Strasburg to re-enforce the troops, whom we could then hear cannonading the enemy. General Shields then, on his own proposition-to which I gave great weight, on account of his having been up and down the valley on the Strasburg as well as Luray and Front Royal side, and had positive personal knowledge of a country of which I had a glimpse for the first time that morning-moved up the valley to Luray to intercept Jackson, whilst he should be falling back before General Fremont's advance.
The next day commenced that heavy rain-storm which lasted several days and flooded the country from the Lehigh to Richmond, carrying away millions of property in Pennsylvania and sweeping off all the bridges on the Shenandoah and the Rappahannock. All communication for many days across the Shenandoah was cut off. General Shields found it impossible to cross to General Fremont, or, on account of the roads, to get his artillery and wagons much beyond Luray, and so reported to me June 4.
In sending General Shields up the valley, he was informed that to whatever distance he might, from his better knowledge of the roads and country, feel himself justified in going, he was to have all his force well