ordered General Shields to commence the movement by to-morrow morning. A second division will follow in the afternoon. Did I understand you aright, that you wished that I personally should accompany this expedition? I hope to see Governor Chase to-night and express myself more fully to him.
(Copy to Secretary of War.)
May 24, 1862.
If the Secretary desires to send any of Duryea's command to help General Banks, I think it would be well to have him take his post at Bristoe. He will have less railroad to guard, less liable to be troubled by accidents to railroad, and in better position than at Catlett's. I trust the accounts to be received of the attack on Front Royal may prove exaggerated. Did they have any block-houses?
May 24, 1862.
Brigadier General JAMES S. WADSWORTH:
It is idle to think of taking any force from this point to go after any force which may be supposed to be in Banks' rear. If they are not there, it will be of no use; if they are really in his rear, nothing from here can get there in time to afford him any help. Where is Blenker? It is from that direction the re-enforcements should come. I do not think my force will bear any further paring down. Try and get over the flutter into which this body (which has been gathering in the mountains, which has grown so suddenly to 5,000 men) seems to have thrown every one. If the enemy can succeed so readily in disconcerting all our plans by alarming us first at one point, then at another, he will paralyze a large force with a very small one. The chances are ten to one the regiment at Front Royal had no guard, no vigilance, and made no fight; the position is such that with ordinary precautions it should not so suddenly have been put to flight. I beg I may not be further disorganized, and I trust you will do what you can to sustain me and quiet the cry of danger to General Banks.
General Shields says the same cry was constantly heard when he was over there-that large numbers-of thousands-of the enemy always coming upon them.
HDQRS. DEPARTMENT OF THE RAPPAHANNOCK,
Opposite Fredericksburg, Va., May 24, 1862.
Major General JAMES SHIELDS, Commanding Division:
GENERAL: Major-General McDowell directs that you take up your