War of the Rebellion: Serial 018 Page 0220 OPERATIONS IN N. VA., W. VA., AND MD. Chapter XXIV.

Search Civil War Official Records

WAR DEPARTMENT,

May 24, 1862-5.3 p. m.

Major-General McDOWELL, Fredericksburg:

Governon Chase is just starting to see you and explain the grounds of the president's order, and to urge its immediate execution. He will reach Aquia at 12 o'clock to-night. Meet him there, and have transportation for him to your headquarters.

EDWIN M. STANTON.

HDQRS. DEPARTMENT OF THE RAPPAHANNOCK,

May 24, 1862. (Received 6 p. m.)

Honorable E. M. STANTON:

The President's order has been received and is in process of execution. This is a crushing blow to us.

IRVIN McDOWELL,

Major-General.

WAR DEPARTMENT,

Washington City, D. C., May 24, 1862-8 p. m.

Major-General McDOWELL:

I am highly gratified by your alacrity in obeying my order. The change was as painful to me as it can possible be to you or to any one.

Everything now depends upon the celerity and vigor of your movement.

A. LINCOLN.

HDQRS. DEPARTMENT OF THE RAPPAHANNOCK,

Opposite Fredericksburg, May 24, 1862.

(Received 9.30 p. m.)

His Excellency the PRESIDENT:

I obeyed your order immediately, for it was positive and urgent, and perhaps as a subordinate there I ought to stop; but I trust I may be allowed to say something in relation to the subject, especially in view of your remark that everything now depends upon the celerity and vigor of my movements. I beg to say that co-operation between General Fremont and myself to cut Jackson and Ewell there is not to be counted upon, even if it is not a practical impossibility. Next, that I am entirely beyond helping distance of General Banks; no celerity or vigor will avail so far as he is concerned. Next, that by a glance at the map it will be seen that the line of retreat of the enemy's forces up the valley is shorter than mine to go against him. It will take a week or ten days for the force to get to the valley by the route which will give it food and forage, and by that time the enemy will have retired. I shall gain nothing for you there, and shall lose much for you here. It is therefore not only on personal grounds that I have a heavy heart in the matter, but that I feel it throws us all back, and from Richmond north we shall have all our large masses paralyzed, and shall have to repeat what we have just accomplished. I have