War of the Rebellion: Serial 016 Page 0068 OPERATIONS IN N. VA., W. VA., AND MD. Chapter XXIV.

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that place last night, and Buford says the fords near Waterloo are bad. I have directed the available forces of Sigel's cavalry, with a section of his artillery, to report to General Buford this afternoon, on the Waterloo toad, with three days' cooked rations. I have directed Buford to march at down to-morrow toward Chester Gap, to ascertain what direction the enemy has taken on our right, whether to Rectortown or Front Royal, through Chester Gap. He will either take the Carter Church road up the left bank of Carter's Run or the road direct form this place to Chester Gap, as inquiries to be made this afternoon shall determine. However persons may have differed as to the force at Waterloo, Sulphur Springs, or elsewhere, all agree in one thing-the movement of the enemy toward our right form Rappahannock to Waterloo. Battalions, trams, batteries, all haves the same direction. The force of the enemy now seems to be above Sulphur Springs. Under these views, in addition to Sigel's corps now here, I beg to suggest that Hooker and Kearny be marched at once in this direction, instead of the direction of Rappahannock Station, for, whether we attack them or they attack us, the contest must come off, it seems to me, as things now stand, above rather than below Sulphur Spring. If they could make a march this afternoon toward either Sulphur Springs or Waterloo Bridge it would be a movement, I think, in the right direction.

What is the enemy's purpose is not easy to discover. Some have thought he means to march around our right through Rectortown to Washington. Others think that he intends going down the Shenandoah, either through Thornton's or Chester Gap. Either of these operations seems to me too hazardous for him to undertake with us in his rear and flank. Others, that it was his object to throw his trains around into the valley, to draw his supplies from that direction and have his front looking to the east rather than to the north. It is also thought that while a portion of his force has marched up the immediate right bank of the Rappahannock a larger portion has gone through Culpeper up the Sperryville road. No doubt these various suppositions may have occurred to you, but I have thought it not inappropriate to recapitulate them here with reference to concentrations of forces in this direction which I have herein suggested. Cannonading at Sulphur Springs still continues about the same. I have ordered Buford to send you a regiment of cavalry. I cannot get hold of Bayard.

IRVIN McDOWELL.

I have just received your telegrams of 2.20 and 3.15 p. m. I trust that Buford's reconnaissances to-morrow will obtain the information you desire concerning the movements of the enemy across the Sperryville pike in the direction of Gaines' Cross-Roads and Salem. I also received from General Banks' signal officer the account of this movement. With reference to your inquiries as to what has occurred to make the presence of Cox here desirable, I made the suggestion first because in the general order issued he was ordered to join Sigel at Fayetteville. As Sigel was here, and as I understood Cox was arriving in the cars, I thought if it could be done time would be gained by his being landed here rather than at Warrenton Junction.

IRVIN McDOWELL,

Major-General, Commanding.