War of the Rebellion: Serial 018 Page 0151 Chapter XXIV. CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.-UNION.

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need not encumber himself with heavily loaded trains. The probabilities at present point to a possible attempt upon Washington while the Shenandoah army is amused with demonstrations. Washington is the only object now worth a desperate throw.

EDWIN M. STANTON,

Secretary of War.

HDQRS. DEPARTMENT OF THE RAPPAHANNOCK,

Opposite Frederick, May 9, 1862.

Honorable E. M. STANTON:

I do not learn of any change in the position of the enemy since last night. A young man living on the Gordonsville road, whilst plowing in his father's field, was come upon by a party of the enemy to force him into their ranks. He broke from them, and though fired upon, succeeded in escaping. He says the enemy's force on the Gordonsville road comes form Anderson's command at Massaponax. Has General McClellan passed Williamsburg and has General Franklin taken West Point? I ask for the reason that if they have not, the enemy may operate in force upon this position and still present to the army of the Potomac.

I was told by one of the enemy whom we captured that Magruder at Yorktown was many miles in front of his real intrenchments, which were at the short line of Williamsburg. The deserters say it is believed by the enemy that I have here 30,000 men and that as many more are on the way to join me. I shall do nothing to undeceive them, if I can avoid it.

IRVIN MCDOWELL,

Major-General, Commanding Department.

GENERAL MCDOWELL'S HEADQUARTERS,

Opposite Fredericksburg, May 9, 1862.

Honorable E. M. STANTON:

I have heard of but one Johnston in the enemy's army-J. E. Johnston-and presume there can be no doubt as to his position, and that he was at Yorktown and is now before Richmond.* As to Ewell, I have not conjectured as to his position, but have supposed him also at Yorktown. I cannot conceive of such a movement as the enemy's leaving Yorktown to go to Western virginia, passing by both my force and that of General Banks, as General Fremont suggests. I concur entirely in your opinion that the movements of the enemy in my front have been founded on an apprehension of my advance, and from all that I can gather from various sources I am inclined to believe this apprehension conduced to their evacuation of the Yorktown Peninsula. I think not only that they have been defensive, and are so at this date, but I also think that it is within the limits of possibilities, if not probabilities, that they may turn into offensive operations if they can throw forward troops enough for the purpose, and that it is the only thing they will do if they find they can resist General McClellan's advance.

IRVIN MCDOWELL,

Major-General, Commanding Department.

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*Brigadier General Edward Johnson was at this time with Jackson.

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