War of the Rebellion: Serial 018 Page 0216 OPERATIONS IN N. VA., W. VA., AND MD. Chapter XXIV.

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RECTORTOWN, May 23, 1862.

(Received 12 p. m.)


Assistant Secretary of War:

The infantry forces under my command, consisting only of the Twenty-eighth Pennsylvania Volunteers, are posted at Hay Market, Thoroughfare, Plains, Salem, Rectortown, Piedmont, Markham, and thence toward Linden, and each detachment is positively and essentially needed at its post, as they are guarding ten intermediate bridges. My lines are threatened by guerrilla bodies south of me, and I am informed they are in possession of Chester and Thornton's Gaps, with other passes in the mountains, and also Dismal Hollow, between Linden and Happy Creek, where a mall force could repel a large body of troops with success. I could not send re-enforcements without deserting the posts I am now guarding with but indifferent strength, and which should be sufficient to repel the enemy in the mountains. One section of my battery is already at Front Royal, and the balance of it cannot be dispensed with at these headquarters, where the stores and property of the command are kept. The balance of my command-a battalion of the First Michigan Cavalry-is in pressing use in patrolling south of the road. If re-enforcements are sent I will make the most practicable use of them if repelling the enemy and aiding General Banks, if possible.


Brigadier-General, Commanding.

WASHINGTON May 23, 1862.

Major-General McDOWELL:

Geary is attacked and worsted at Front Royal. Banks seriously threatened. I think that when the Secretary arrives he will order in that direction all that can be spared from this command.



May 23, 1862-11 p. m.

General DIX, Baltimore:

Our forces of Front Royal have been attacked and compelled to fall back upon Middletown. General Banks asks for re-enforcements. Have railroad transportation prepared to move at the earliest moment-all that you can spare. Report what force you can send to his assistance and when it can start. Do not move it until further orders.


Secretary of War.


May 23, 1862-11.30 p. m.

Brigadier-General DURYEA, Catlett's Station:

Be prepared to move a regiment to occupy Thoroughfare Gap in the morning. Whatever cars and engines are near you and needed for this purpose should be retained. The men to carry rations in their haver-