Royal, where I will thank you to support him, in case it should be necessary, until he can be withdrawn. The fords of the Shenandoah are now practicable. All General Bayard's brigade have passed over.
Again, on June 18 (proceedings of January 5), I telegraphed to General Banks:
All of General Ricketts' division will leave Front Royal to-day. General Shields, who is now at Front Royal, will follow General Ricketts to-morrow. There are some commissary stores and beef cattle, more than these troops require, at Front Royal. To avoid bringing them over here, where there is plenty, I beg leave to suggest that you instruct the proper officer in your department to receive them for the use of your command to-day.
On the 20th of June General Shields' division marched from Front Royal to Manassas.
On the 21st (proceedings January 5) the Secretary of War telegraphed me:
General Banks has urgently and repeatedly requested that General Shields' division should remain a short time at Front Royal.
In a note to me this morning the President says: "Tell McDowell what Banks says; tell him we incline to have Shields remain a few days at Front Royal, and ask him to state this strongest objections, if he has any."
You will please answer immediately, and tell us how you are.
To which I replied, June 21-2 p. m. (proceedings January 5):
Your telegram, requesting that Shields' division should be allowed to remain a few days at Front Royal, is just received. In compliance with the orders given after the President was here (Manassas) the advance of Shields' division reached here last night and has moved to Bristoe. The sick, foot weary, and part of the baggage and stores left Front Royal last night; General Shields and the remainder of his division left Front Royal this morning at 5 o'clock.
My reasons for wishing to get General Shields here were, first, that the movements I am ordered to make depend upon it; second, his position at Front Royal, with nothing in advance of him beyond the support of General Fremont and with a river separating him from General Banks, which General Banks' force seems reluctant to cross, was not such as I wanted him, in the condition he is in, to remain in.
General Shields' division is, I learn, in a bad state morally and materially-officers resigning and even men deserting.
I am improving and sitting up, and hope soon to regain my bodily activity.
On the 22nd and 23rd of June General Shields' command reached Bristoe, near Manassas. On his commencing to arrive, and as fast as it could be safely done, the force held at Carlett's was transferred to Fredericksburg. On the 26th the President's order was issued suppressing the Department of the Rappahannock, and placing me, with the forces I had commanded, under Major-General Pope, to constitute a part of the Army of Virginia.
On the same day Jackson, concerning to renewal of whose attack down the Shenandoah there had been so much speculation in the valley, struck the right of General McClellan's army before Richmond, and commenced that series of battles which resulted in General McClellan taking position on the left bank of the James River.
I had telegraphed General McClellan June 10 that I would be with him in ten days, and could I have disentangled myself from the Shenandoah Valley and commenced to withdraw my forces at the time I ordered-June 8-I would have been with him by the 20th or by the time McCall's reached him by water from Fredericksburg under orders given it June 6.
With the 26th ended my independent command, and with that date I end the account of my conduct in connection with alleged failure to aid or re-enforce General McClellan before Richmond.