HDQRS. DEPARTMENT OF THE RAPPAHANNOCK,
Opposite Fredericksburg, May 9, 1862.
Honorable E. M. STANTON,
Secretary of War:
The ammunition you refer to in your telegram of to-day I have requested may be sent to Aqiua. I presume the oversight came from the ordnance officer who was with me when it was prepared having been relieved and sent to another command and no one having taken his place. A colored fugitive from the Louisiana Battalion reports that Anderson has advanced a few miles from his position at the Massaponax, and that on the road to Richmond are many camps and a large force coming this way. With the enemy's main body behind the Chickahominy and Franklin at West Point and victorious, as I understand from Colonel Stager's telegram he has been, I cannot think a very large body will venture up this far. It must be in a fit of desperation if they do. I have to-day brought General Ricketts' two regiments and a battery to this place from Aquia.
Major-General, Commanding Department of Rappahannock.
NEW MARKET, VA., May 9, 1862.
Honorable P. H. WATSON,
Assistant Secretary of War:
SIR: A copy of your dispatch of this date to General Banks has reached me. The probabilities are that Jackson took the cars at Waynesborough to join General Edward Jolinson, who was retreating before Milroy, and that both united may attempt to strike a blow against him or check his advance. Jackson's force cannot be now more than 9,000 and Johnson's not more than 2,500. Ewell, from all we can learn, is still east of the Shenandoah, with a force variously estimated at from 6,000 to 10,000. His object does not seem to be to fight, but to prevent the junction with McDowell. If he be within reach I hope to dispose of him on my way to the Department of the Rappahannock. I am glad to know there are cars sufficient to transport my command to Catlett's Station. If so, I can move to-morrow, if my detachments be relieved in time, with 10,000 men, thirty pieces of artillery, 2, 5000 horses of baggage and artillery trains, ten days' rations, no forage-forage not being procurable here-plenty of ammunition, all ready for the field. I will telegraph General McDowell to-day to let me know whether there are cars sufficient to transport my command from Front Royal to Catlett's Station and whether forage for horses can be forwarded to Front Royal at once. If so, I will move forthwith, my principal difficulty being forage and the delay in relieving my detachments.
I venture, merely as an opinion, to say the Southern Army will never attempt an advance against Washington. If it makes the attempt the war will soon be over. They can never by any possibility reach the capital, and we can hem them in in such a way as to make their destruction inevitable. I still hold the opinion that they will fall down South, and that all these demonstrations are but feints.
I have the honor to be, with great respect, your obedient servant,