War of the Rebellion: Serial 018 Page 0131 Chapter XXIV. CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.-UNION.

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[Indorsement.]

The retreat of the rebels from Lewisburg was not anticipated when I received this order.

WASHINGTON, May 4, 1862.

Major-General McDOWELL:

Shields, Hartsuff, and Geary have already been directed to receive your orders, and you have been authorized to give them orders. It seems to me the Department has done all in its power to place them in your command. If simple prudence reqiures them to be on your line, is not your own action all that is required for that prudential measure? What more do you want of the Department in respect to Shields?

As to Blenker, the President still refuses to change the destination of that division. Geary reports that the line of railroad from Manassas to Strasburg is threatened by guerrillas at Rectortown, Salem, and Piedmont, and also at its western end; and that his force is not sufficient to guard it securely.

EDWIN M. STANTON,

Secretary of War.

HDQRS. DEPARTMENT OF THE RAPPAHANNOCK,

May 4, 1862.

Honorable E. M. STANTON,

Secretary of War:

I want nothing further from the Department in respect to Shields. My dispatch was more particularly with respect to Blenker, and in furtherance of the views you had expressed in relation to this destination, and in which I entirely concurred. As to Geary, I cannot think he is too weak to guard the road, but I shall know better when I hear from him. Your telegram is the first authority I have received for considering him subject to my orders. Jeff. Davis' coachman has come, and brings a good deal of interesting gossip from Richmond, which I will send you soon.

IRVIN McDOWELL,

Major-General, Commanding Department.

HDQRS. DEPARTMENT OF THE RAPPAHANNOCK,

Potomac Creek, May 4, 1862.

Honorable E. M. STANTON,

Secretary of War:

The bridge across the Accokeek is just finished, and track laid. I have just come over on the locomotive. The force will now be thrown on the bridge at this place and the one over the Rappahannock, and the two will be built-the engineers (Haupt and Stone) estimate-within twelve days. Your dispatch announcing the evacuation of Yorktown is received. The enemy must now fall back upon the Peninsula and mass his force in front of Richmond, with perhaps his right on James River, his center at or near West Point, and his left