are just resting after their fatiguing march of 34 miles in less than twenty-four hours. But what is very bad is the total, the entire, destitution of forage here, and if it were in the country parties cannot now be sent out. My own horses have nothing but one feed-a few earl of corn brought along. I hear nothing whatever from the general commanding. We will do what we can. Where is General Banks at this juncture? Where is Blenker's division?*
ROBT. C. SCHENCK,
HEADQUARTERS THIRD PROVISIONAL BRIGADE,
Princeton, May 8 .
Captain G. M. BASCOM,
Assistant Adjutant-General, Raleigh:
General Cox has of course received my dispatch of yesterday. I would like to move with the Thirtieth to-morrow to Giles Court-House. My only ground for hesitation is from Humphrey Marshall's ability to make a dash at our line of communication from the Tazewell road. In fact a wagon sent out without my approval some 10 miles on this road, day before yesterday, was captured by 75 of his cavalry. It was very annoying to me, and the more so as it was against the whole tenor of my orders in reference to such expeditions.
As to the enemy in front, under Jenifer, they are reported in numbers equal to or even greater than my little brigade, but our men are in good heart, and there are supplies ahead-flour, corn, beef, &c. To await transportation from the rear is to multiply obstacles in front, and I cannot but think our true course is to push forward and make up in velocity for deficiency of mass. But this point of Princeton must be guarded. It is threatened by the reported presence of Marshall's force on our right, and it is necessary to have troops here. Time is everything now.
I had supposed that the Twelfth Regiment would join me before now, but hear nothing of it. Were it here, or another in its place, the railroad would be in my possession before the expiration of forty-eight hours. I beg you therefore to send up a regiment to occupy Princeton. I will hold the Thirtieth ready to move as soon as I know relief to be within supporting distance. Meantime I have ordered the Twenty-third to remain at Giles Court-House. Our column is getting too long again. Can you hurry up a regiment to this place? If it be done so as to make the advance to the railroad at once, the work will be so far complete that you can have breathing time and facilities for the concentration of your column. If the golden opportunity is lost we shall be all the season preparing to fight a "battle of Carnifix." For my own brigade it is needful that it should be concentrated or it will be inefficient. This stretching too much demoralizes, and I hold it to be as important to let the two regiments alternate in having the lead as to do any one thing that can be named to preserve the morale of a command. It is just, and justice must be preserved, or the regiment which is always in the rear loses spirit. It so happens also that the senior regimental commander is in the rear, although a change was intended by me at this point. An accident prevented it. But justice and the claims of discipline should control accidents. These considerations
* For other dispatches of this date from Schenck to Fremont see inclosure 8 and 9 to Fremont report, Part I, p.28.