May 24, 1862-11.12 a. m.
Major-General McDOWELL, Falmouth:
In view of the operations of the enemy on the line of General Banks the President thinks the whole force you designed to move from Fredericksburg should not be taken away, and he therefore directs that one brigade in addition to what you designed to leave at Fredericksburg should be left there; this brigade to be the least effective of your command.
EDWIN M. STANTON.
HDQRS. DEPARTMENT OF THE RAPPAHANNOCK,
Falmouth, May 24, 1862. (Received 1 p. m.)
Honorable E. M. STANTON, Secretary of War:
Your order to leave an additional brigade at Fredericksburg has been received. Shields' ammunition has been landed and will be up this afternoon ar evening. The enemy, attracted by the movement of our troops yesterday, drew in his right to the railroad, which he seemed to judge was to be the road we were to take-led, no doubt, to think so from the cheering and display on the hill-side beyond the town when the President and yourself visited General Patrick's brigade.*
Major-General, Commanding Department.
May 24, 1862-5 p. m.
Major-General McDOWELL, Fredericksburg:
General Fremont has been ordered by telegraph to move from Franklin on Harrisonburg to relieve General Banks, and capture or destroy Jackson's and Ewell's forces.
You are instructed, laying aside for the present the movement on Richmond, to put 20,000 men in motion at once for the Shenandoah, moving on the line or in advance of the line of the Manassas Gap Railroad. Your object will be to capture the forces of Jackson and Ewell, either in co-operation with General Fremont or, in case want of supplies or of transportation interferes with his movements, it is believed that the force with which you move will be sufficient to accomplish this object alone. The information thus far received here makes it probable that if the enemy operate actively against General Banks you will not be able to count upon much assistance from him, but may even have to release him.
Reports received this moment are that Banks is fighting with Ewell 8 miles from Winchester.
Order General Shields to take up his line of march to-morrow for Catlett's.
*Portion of this dispatch relating to prisoners of war here omitted to appear in Series II.