War of the Rebellion: Serial 015 Page 0286 OPERATIONS IN N. VA.,W. VA.,AND MD. Chapter XXIV.

Search Civil War Official Records

ter to that place be abandoned, so that I may be at work getting my forces together. They are too far apart. I want to get a larger force at Catlett's and Fredericksburg at once.

Jackson is either coming against Shields at Luray, King at Catlett's, or Doubleday at Fredericksburg, or is going to Richmond.

None of the places named is in condition to withstand him, and in any case I should got my command together; but I cannot leave the valley and commence to do so till General Banks assumes charge. Cannot he be asked to hasten his troops? General Sigel, who is near Winchester, is waiting for certain supplies. Cannot he move, as we have done, and have his supplies follow him?

Again I telegraphed the War Department:

Has the Department any information as to the position of General Fremont? I ask so as to determine in relation to moving General Shields from Luray and General Ricketts from Front Royal. I am disposed to move both of them as soon as they can march, and without waiting any further on the movements of General Banks.

General Banks is now in force on the Shenandoah opposite Front Royal; and even if Jackson should not have gone to Richmond and should attempt again to go down the valley, General Banks is in the strongest position on the line for resisting him. Such movement on the part of Jackson would only result in abandoning the line from Manassas and Front Royal. General Banks is waiting for a bridge to be built or a ferry larger than the present one to be established.

June 14 I telegraphed the Secretary of War:

The position which I learn from your telegram of last night is now occupied by General Fremont at Mount Jackson leaves General Shields' command exposed at Luray. Either Jackson is falling back to Richmond or is waiting for re-enforcement to renew his offensive operations. If the former, my forces are not needed where they are, but are needed where the President has ordered them. If the latter, then has General Fremont's movements to Mount Jackson, and General Banks' inability to make one, as ordered, up the east banks of the Shenandoah, left the forces of my command too divided to support each other and give that protection to the capital which it is made my duty to afford. I am not in strength either at Luray, on this line, or at Fredericksburg, whilst the valley west of the Shenandoah down to Harper's Ferry is held in superabundant strength. I propose, therefore, to immediately order my troops out of the valley and have General Geary take post at Thoroughfare. General King goes to-day to Fredericksburg with another brigade. If hereafter General Banks shall see fit to cross the Shenandoah at Front Royal and carry out the plan the President ordered he will be able to do so as well as if I were there. If not, no harm will be done, and I will be able to utilize the forces now locked up in his department.

I fear precious time is being lost, so far as I am concerned, by my having to wait for General Banks, and that I am either being exposed to be attacked in detail if Jackson acts offensively or that I am delaying the re-enforcements for Richmond, where they will be needed more than ever, if, as I am led to think may be the case, he is gone to re-enforce Lee.

Please let me know at as early a moment as possible if there is any objection to my acting as I propose.

In answer to my suggestions the Secretary informed me, June 14:

Your telegram has just been received. You have all the knowledge possessed by the Department respecting the position of the forces under command of General Banks and General Fremont, and you also know what orders have been given by the President to those commanders as well as to yourself. I have no further orders.


Secretary of War.

June 14 I telegraphed the Department as follows:

I have ordered General Shields to move as soon as possible to Catlett's. It was from no desire to avoid the full measure of responsibility which belongs to me that I telegraphed the condition in which my troops in the valley are placed. The change of the plan as to General Fremont's position affected me, and I ventured to submit, in the absence of any instructions, what I thought best to be done under the new condition of things.

That day I ordered General Shields to march from Luray to Catlett's at the earliest possible moment.*


*See Schriver to Shields, June 14, 1862, in "Correspondence, etc.," Part III, p. 389.