War of the Rebellion: Serial 018 Page 0016 OPERATIONS IN N. VA., W. VA., AND MD. Chapter XXIV.

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WINCHESTER, March 24, 1862.

(Received 9.42 a.m.)

General S. WILLIAMS:

We are re-enforced by two brigades this morning. It is yet uncertain whether the enemy is re-enforced or can be held to a fight. I have requested General Sedgwick to remain at Harper's Ferry a few hours this morning with trains.

N. P. BANKS,

Major-General, Commanding Corps d'Armee.

HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC,

March 24, 1862-11 a.m.

Major General N. P. BANKS,

Commanding Fifth Corps, Winchester:

Dispatch received. Your course was right. As soon as you are strong enough push Jackson hard and drive him well beyond Strasburg, pursuing at least as far as Woodstock, and, if possible, with cavalry to Mount Jackson. Strasburg should then be held in force, and the repairs of the railway bridge over the Shenandoah pushed forward as rapidly as possible. The very moment the thorough defeat of Jackson will permit it, resume the movement on Manassas, always leaving the whole of Shield's command at or near Strasburg and Winchester until Manassas Gap Railway is fully repaired. Call on Sedgwick for aid if you require it, but not unless necessary. Communicate fully and frequently and act vigorously.

GEO. B. McCLELLAN,

Major-General.

MIDDLETOWN, VA., March 24, 1862.

Major-General McCLELLAN:

Your dispatch received. Its instructions will be followed. The enemy is in full retreat. Our men are exhausted, but will overtake them. I think they fly rapidly. I notified General Sedgwick that his force will not be wanted at 9.30 this morning. Will hasten the Manassas orders as rapidly as possible.

N. P. BANKS,

Major-General, Commanding.

WASHINGTON, D. C.,

March 24, 1862-1.26 p.m.

General JOHN SEDGWICK,

Harper's Ferry:

You are authorized to leave for this place as soon as your transportation arrives, unless you get further information from General Banks that your command is wanted to re-enforce him. A guard must be left at Harper's Ferry for the bridge.

R. B. MARCY,

Chief of Staff.