War of the Rebellion: Serial 018 Page 0144 OPERATIONS IN N. VA., W. VA., AND MD. Chapter XXIV.

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before Williamsburg and not in a position to prevent an advance on me, have all caused me to believe that it is highly probable that they may attack me before I shall have force enough to attack them. I have therefore ordered up Brigadier-General Ricketts and two of his regiments from Aquia Creek and a battery from Belle Plain. If the place had not been indicated by the President as one he wishes held I would at once order the bulk of Hartsuff's brigade from Catlett's, for this is evidently the point of attack. Shields tells me he will not march before to-morrow, and it will take him, I think, a week to reach here.

IRVIN McDOWELL,

Major-General, Commanding Department.

MAY 8, 1862.

Brigadier-General KING, Catlett's:

Continue the march of your division to Fredericksburg, using such dispatch as is compatible with the efficiency of your command upon its arrival at that place.

IRVIN McDOWELL,

Major-General, Commanding Department.

HDQRS. DEPARTMENT OF THE RAPPAHANNOCK,

Opposite Fredericksburg, May 8, 1862.

Major-General SHIELDS,

Commanding at New Market, Va.:

Your telegram of May 7 is just received. Come with all possible expedition to Catlett's, as before ordered. I have reliable information that the enemy is increasing his forces largely in immediate front by drafts from Yorktown. It is of the greatest importance you arrive here at an early day.

IRVIN McDOWELL,

Major-General, Commanding Department.

NEW MARKET, VA., May 8, 1862.

E. SCHRIVER,

Chief of Staff:

SIR: Your dispatch of this date received. I am waiting for my detached regiments to be relieved by Major-General Banks. My intention and hope are to be able to take up my line of march on the morning of the 9th day, way of Chester Gap, if not otherwise directed. I will telegraph the moment I am ready for departure. The order of the 2nd found a large portion of my force on detached service. In the present state of affairs I have thought some of going by way of Culpeper Court-House, if there be any likelihood of receiving support and supplies on arriving there. May I inquire when the railroad bridge of the Rappahannock is likely to be finished? Could I have support and supplies at the place within ten days from this? Would the general commanding deem it safe for me to take that route? Will he feel authorized to throw forward to that position? The road from here to Culpeper Court-House is better than that by Chester Gap, but the position of the advancing