War of the Rebellion: Serial 018 Page 0124 OPERATIONS IN N. VA., W. VA., AND MD. Chapter XXIV.

Search Civil War Official Records

without undue risk. The roads to the enemy are said to be better than they are behind him, being, in fact, quite impassable for his artillery in retreat. By to-morrow night I should have nearly 20,000 effective men on the Rappahannock, with a broad bridge of boats, a pontoon bridge, and a steam ferry-boat to cross the river. The enemy is undoubtedly accumulating in front, and will continue to do so as he hears of my re-enforcements.

IRVIN McDOWELL,

Major-General, Commanding Department.

AQUIA, May 2, 1862.

Honorable E. M. STANTON,

Secretary of War:

Your telegram of May 1, placing General Shields in this division, was received this morning. General Shields will be ordered, as soon as the telegraph is in operation between Harper's Ferry and Woodstock or Winchester, to repair without delay to Catlett's, whether by way of Chester Gap and Warrenton or Manassas Gap will depend on his means of transportation and the roads.

IRVIN McDOWELL,

Major-General, Commanding.

HDQRS. DEPARTMENT OF THE RAPPAHANNOCK,

Aquia, May 2, 1862.

Major-General SHIELDS,

Commanding Division, Woodstock, Va.:

We are all delighted in this department that the President should have done me the honor to place your gallant division under my command. I am instructed by the Secretary of War, under date of May 1, to transmit you an order to move to such place within this department as I may designate. Accordingly, I wish you to repair at the earliest moment practicable, and by such route as you may find best, to Catlett's Station, on the Orange and Alexandria Railroad, and where that road crosses Cedar Run. This point is about 2 miles from the junction of the Orange and Alexandria Railroad with the Warrenton Branch Railroad. So far as my knowledge of the country goes this point may be best reached by way of Front Royal, Chester gap, and the town of Warrenton. What the distance is and the condition of the road I do not know nor do I know your means of transportation. I am under impression you may find forage on the way, but as General Blenker's and Colonel Geary's commands have been in that department, you may find the quantity insufficient. If you desire to come that way I can have supplies meet you at Warrenton. If you find this road less practicable than by way of Manassas Gap and Manassas Junction, supplies can be sent to you on the Manassas road.

Please acknowledge receipt here of letter. Let me know when you can take up your up your line of march; by what road you are coming; what are your means of transportation, and what the composition and strength of your command.

The most of my force are now at Fredericksburg. We have General J. R. Anderson, of the Tredegar Iron Works, and General Field about