War of the Rebellion: Serial 018 Page 0143 Chapter XXIV. CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.-UNION.

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WAR DEPARTMENT,

May 8, 1862.

General SHIELDS:

Your suggestion to move through Culpeper Court-House is not approved. Reports from Fort Monroe, communicated to you and to General Banks this morning, will put you both on your guard as to your movements.

EDWIN M. STANTON.

POTOMAC CREEK, May 8, 1862.

Honorable E. M. STANTON:

The bridge across Potomac Creek is one-third done. All the timber for the one over the Rappahannock is cut, and will be on the ground this evening. I fear my forces will not be in hand by the line the bridges are done. There are reports of a heavy force of the enemy 30 miles this side of Richmond, on the railroad to this place. Field has moved his force a few miles nearer than he was day before yesterday. Now that I have occupied Fredericksburg we do not get the Richmond papers.

IRVIN McDOWELL,

Major-General, Commanding Department of Rappahannock.

HDQRS. DEPARTMENT OF THE RAPPAHANNOCK,

May 8, 1862.

Honorable E. M. STANTON:

Two deserters from the enemy came in this afternoon. They are Irishmen, belonging to New York, intelligent, and I think truthful. They state that the forces under Alexandria and Field have been re-enforced by Brigadier General Maxcy Gregg's South Carolina brigade. That the whole body moved forward from near Guiney's to the Massaponax River, from 6 to 10 miles from Fredericksburg. Gregg's command is on the rialroad. Field's command to the east, on the Bowling Green road, at the Sycamores. Anderson to the west, on the Richmond road. This advance took place before yesterday. This statement as to the advanced position taken up by the enemy is confirmed by two of our officers-Captain Farrish and Lieutenant Dempsey, of the New York Seventy-ninth Militia-made prisoners at Bull Run and just released, having been exchanged and sent into my opposite under a flag of truce. They left prison at Richmond this morning and came in the cars to within some 8 miles of Fredericksburg, being about five hours on the way. They came up with a regiment sent to re-enforce Anderson. They report that troops commenced returning to Richmond from Yorktown last Saturday; that they are transferred from the depot where they arrive to another depot-they think the Fredericksburg one-in coaches, wagons, &c., public and private, as fast as they can be moved. At nearing places on the way up these officers were blindfolded. General Anderson was much discontented at their arrival, and was not disposed to suffer them to pass. The deserters say it was understood that Jackson's command was on the way to join Anderson, and that Jackson was to have the chief command. The intelligence from Fort Monroe of the belief there that the enemy intends drawing in this line, and the fact that General McLellan is still