It was expected, according to the instructions from the Department,* that Generals Fremont and Banks should hold the valley and I should remain till General Banks should relieve me.*
It will be seen that he was not prepared to cross or was not able to cross the Shenandoah at Front Royal till late in June.
June 11 General Banks, through his chief of staff at Winchester, informed General Ricketts at Front Royal that the orders which he (General Banks) had received from Washington required that he should move his main force to the Shenandoah, at or opposite Front Royal; that General Crawford was near that place; that the remaining (General Williams') division would be there by the last of the week; that General Sigel stated that his command would be in condition to move in six days from that date, his requisitions not having yet been fully answered.+
June 12 General Banks expressed his opinion to the Department, communicated to me by the Secretary:
That Winchester of Middletown was the place to meet the enemy, and that he had suggested to General Fremont to fall back to that line.++
I reported as follows to the Secretary of War:
[HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE RAPPAHANNOCK, Manassas, June 12, 1862.]
I have received the telegrams from Major-General McClellan and Major-General Banks you sent me this morning.
The enemy's telegrams from Staunton to Governor Letcher, at Richmond, for re-enforcements seem to indicate there was no body of troops between Jackson and Richmond. This is not conclusive, but probable. General McClellan's opinion that some troops left Richmond to join Jackson is strong presumptive evidence that they intended to strengthen their forces in the valley, though hardly by Longstreet's and Smith's divisions. Perhaps it is to make good Jackson's losses. General Fremont intends to occupy Mount Jackson, and his desire that General Banks should join him there, and the latter's wish to occupy Middletown or Winchester, and his opinion adverse to occupying Front Royal, seem to indicate that both these commanders intend or wish to remain on the west side of the Shenandoah. If they can supply themselves by way of Winchester and Strasburg and relinquish the road from Manassas to Front Royal their plan will have the advantage of having their forces move together in better supporting distance and less liable to attack in detail. But in that case it seems to me that as all the forces of both these commanders would be on the same line, they might occupy in force a position farther in advance than Mount Jackson, so as to be able to fall on the rear of any force going on the Luray road or over to Western Virginia, and at the same time be advanced sufficiently as a covering force for Washington to enable the President's plan concerning my command to be carried into effect.
If, under a belief of an advance of a superior force, General Fremont falls back to Mount Jackson, which is within the Massanutten range of mountains, General Shields' division is not safe at Luray, especially since the bridges over the Shenandoah are down and the communication is cut off and he too far distant to be supported from Catlett's. I have sent to him to know if he has a good defensible position at Luray, and have delayed movement of Ricketts' two brigades from Front Royal to Catlett's and ordered him to be ready to move to Luray.
But all this is interfering with the main plan, and if Generals Fremont and Banks think they can operate better both together west of the Shenandoah, I would recommend that no bridge be built on the Shenandoah at Front Royal and the line from Manassas to Front Royal be abandoned, and that I at once bring my forces over to this line.
Again I wrote to the Secretary on the same subject:
Owing to some instructions from Major-General Banks to troops of his department have not crossed the river to relieve General Ricketts at Front Royal. This I understand is under the impression General Banks is under that this is in accordance with his instructions from Washington. It is most desirable that General Banks should at once relieve my troops in the valley or that Front Royal and the line from Winches-
*See letters of June 9-10 to Shields in "Correspondence, etc.," Part III, pp. 364, 367.
+See Copeland to Schriver, June 11, in "Correspondence, etc.," Part III, p. 370.
++See May 15-June 17, "Operations, etc.," Report Numbers 1, p. 522.