War of the Rebellion: Serial 018 Page 0076 OPERATIONS IN N. VA.,W. VA.,AND MD. Chapter XXIV.

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tions sent by mail, but understood to be of the same import, are not yet received.* The mail travels very slowly, but it is daily improving.

So far as possible the order of the Secretary will be put in immediate execution. The number of horses remaining in this country is far less than that suggested in the order. I doubt if there are 300 serviceable horses in the whole of this country, from Harper's Ferry to our outposts. What we can we will do.

I am impressed with the conviction that the Department misapprehends the cause of our difficulties. It is not because of the immense quantities of supplies hauled from Harper's Ferry to this point, as suggested by the Quartermaster-General, or that we had failed to levy upon the country through which we pass for such supplies as it could furnish, which has been constantly done, but because our whole transportation with its supplies was suddenly and accidentally swept away from us for a period of nearly ten days.

The diversion of our entire wagon train to Manassas, turning over our supplies at that post and then returning here, and the substantial breaking up of the Winchester road, upon which we exclusively relied, for 32 miles, at the same time, by which we were suddenly deprived of our entire transportation for an uncertain period, caused our alarm. As soon as we are restored to our original condition, with such additional wagons as are needed for General Shields' division, which has now not more than a hundred, mostly two-horse wagons, we shall get on without trouble. Our exigency was sudden and temporary, but for the time a source of great danger.

The Department, I fear, greatly overrates the resources of this country. The representations as to Clarke County will not be sustained as to extent of forage by the facts. It is a wheat country, raising but little hay at any time. It has been occupied by two armies, and is exhausted on the lines of the roads. Measures have bee taken to ascertain its full extent immediately.

Our force has been supported in a very great degree by levies upon the country, for which we have given receipts. Comparatively little has been brought to us for the reason I have given-the temporary failure of our transportation.

We had contemplated for this day an enterprise brought to the action of the Secretary of Captain Hunt, but the condition of the numerous streams kept up by the snow from the mountains makes it impracticable for the day. It will not be deferred one hour beyond the time when it can be safely undertaken.

I am greatly indebted to the Secretary for the continued reports of the progress of events eastward.

I am, general, with much respect, your obedient servant,

N. P. BANKS,

Major-General, Commanding.

WOODSTOCK, April 14, 1862-9 p. m.

General LORENZO THOMAS,

Adjutant-General U. S. Army:

The Secretary's dispatches received. We have yet no news of General Blenker. He is nearer to Manassas than to us. There are not 200 horses in this valley from Harper's Ferry up to this point that are fit

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*See Stanton to Banks, April 9, p. 61, copy of which was telegraphed.

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