War of the Rebellion: Serial 018 Page 0142 OPERATIONS IN N. VA., W. VA., AND MD. Chapter XXIV.

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FORT MONROE, May 8, 1862.

Honorable P. H. WATSON,

Assistant Secretary of War:

It is believed here that a considerable force has been sent toward the Rappahannock and Shenandoah to move on Washington. Jackson is re-enforced strongly. General McClellan is still about Williamsburg; Franklin at West Point. The rebels design to abandon Norfolk. Telegraph Generals McDowell, Banks, and Hartsuff to keep a sharp Lookout, and report frequently. Tell General Hitchcock to see that the force around Washington is in proper condition.

EDWIN M. STANTON,

Secretary of War.

WAR DEPARTMENT,

May 8, 1862.

Major General I. McDOWELL, Falmounth,

Major General N. P. BANKS, New Market,

Brigadier General GEORGE L. HARTSUFF, Catlett's:

It is believed at Fort Monroe that a considerable rebel force has been sent toward the Rappahannock and Shenandoah to move on Washington. Jackson is re-enforced strongly. General McClellan is still about Williamsburg; Franklin at West Point. Rebels design to abandon Norfolk. Keep a sharp lookout, and report frequently.

By order of the Secretary of War:

P. H. WATSON,

Assistant Secretary of War.

WAR DEPARTMENT,

May 8, 1862.

General SHIELDS:

The design of the dispatch directing you not to move from the Department of the Shenandoah until the arrival or near approach of General Banks had in view the possible need of your co-operation with General Banks in resisting the advance of the enemy. You will please construe your orders according to their spirit as above explained.

EDWIN M. STANTON.

(Copy to Generals Banks and McDowell.)

NEW MARKET, VA., May 8, 1862.

P. H. WATSON,

Assistant Secretary of War:

Your dispatch of this date with regard to General McDowell's instructions to move received. I am struggling to yet away to join him, but so many delays occur that I am impatient. I cannot give you any idea of the difficulty of dragging supplies out of the department, and will have to leave half supplied after all. Would it not be safe to march direct to Culpeper Court-House, instead of going around by Chester Gap?

JAS. SHIELDS,

Major-General, Commanding.