War of the Rebellion: Serial 018 Page 0134 OPERATIONS IN N. VA., W. VA., AND MD. Chapter XXIV.

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HEADQUARTERS SHIELDS' DIVISION,

May 5, 1862.

Major-General McDOWELL,

Commanding Department of the Rappahannock:

Your flattering dispatch of the 2nd instant, containing instructions, &c., has been received. A dispatch from the Secretary of War of the same date orders me to remain here until General Banks is in position at Strasburg. This and the calling in of my detachments will detain me yet a few days in this department. I am not quite able as yet to decade the different routes, but incline to the Chester Gap route. My principal difficulty will be in getting forage, and will need some supply to meet me at Warrenton if I take that route. I will telegraph you more specifically on these points hereafter . My force consists of sixteen regiments of infantry, formed in three brigades; five batteries of artillery, including twelve Parrott guns, 10-pounders, six 6-pounders, rifled guns, ten smooth-bores, 6-pounders, and two 12-pounder howitzer, and one squadron of cavalry, making in all an effective force for the field of 11,000 men; my transportation consisting of 13 four-horse wagons to each regiment, with 32 additional four-horse wagons to each brigade and 10 to each battery of artillery. The horses of the command, including those of the different trains for which forage will be required, will be over 2,000. I mean to dispense with tents, except for hospital and office purposes, and with every article of baggage that is not indispensable. Further particulars will be before I take up my line of march. Have asked the Secretary of War for two more regiments of infantry and one of cavalry, now under command of General James Cooper, Maryland volunteers. Would wish you would try to get General Cooper and his magnificent cavalry regiment for me.

JAS. SHIELDS,

Major-General.

HDQRS. DEPARTMENT OF THE RAPPAHANNOCK,

Opposite Fredericksburg, May 5, 1862.

Honorable E. M. STANTON,

Secretary of War:

I have received dispatch from General Shields informing me he will not be able to take up his line of march to join me until General Banks is in position at Strasburg and until Shields can all in his detachments. He does not say when all this be and most likely does not know. There has been some firing this morning between the cavalry pickets across the river, some miles below the town. I am again informed that Jackson has left Gordonsville, but am unable to trace him. Jeff. Davis' coachman says he had not passed Hanover Junction last Tuesday, and he heard he was to join Whiting, Anderson, and Field in Spotsylvania or Caroline, but I have not heard that he has done so. I take the following from the last Richmond Examiner:

We learn from Fredericksburg that the enemy has made a formal demand for, and taken possession of, the railroad depot and the public stores which were deserted by our troops without being destroyed. Five gunboats and twenty-two barges have come up the river and anchored at the wharf. The barges are said to be common canal-boats. It is thought that the purpose of the enemy is to construct a bridge, over which to pass his army across the Rappahannock. The tugs are low, light-draught, dirty-looking things, bearing two or three small guns each. They are altogether wooden, and a good battery of field artillery might have sunk the whole concern, barges and all. The protection afforded by the enemy to fugitive negroes is said to be playing havoc with slave property in the neighborhood of Fredericksburg. The