line of march with the division under your command to Catlett's, commencing the movement to-morrow morning.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Lieutenant-Colonel And Chief of Staff.
HDQRS. DEPT. OF THE RAPPAHANNOCK,
Opposite Fredericksburg, May 24, 1862.
All tents, other than shelter-tents, now is possession of the regiments, except four wall-tents to be allowed to each regiment for the field and staff, and a hospital-tent for the sick with the regiment, are to be turned over to Captain Lacey, quartermaster of the depot. All baggage, except that indispensable necessary, is to be marked and disposed of in the same manner by 10 o'clock a. m. on the 25th instant.
By command of Major-General McDowell:
HEADQUARTERS SHIELDS' DIVISION,
May 24, 1862. (Received 3 p. m.)
Honorable E. M. STANTON,
Secretary of War:
With the permission of the general commanding I beg leave to make the following suggestions: If Jackson and Ewell have moved against Banks they have placed themselves in a position to be caught by Milroy, Blenker, and Schenck. If the troops of the Mountain Department are not now in position to throw themselves into the valley of the Shenandoah and cut them off, they must have changed their direction. They have but one thing to do: Cross to Waynesborough, seize Charlottesville, and destroy the railroad; them with one body and another follow the turnpike to Strasburg, and the enemy will be caught. I know that department. If I knew a few facts I can divine the rest. Is Front Royal in the hands of the enemy? Do the cars still run on the Manassas Junction road? Do the wires still stand on the line to Strasburg? Is the bridge burned at Front Royal? If all this has taken place there is some force of the enemy there. If not, it is a panic; but in my opinion, in any event, no help would reach them in time from here, and a panic there ought not to paralyze this movement just now prepared on the eve of execution. I am ordered to leave one brigade here already. Any more would make this command unfit for any great movement. Banks has enough of troops, if well handled, to defend himself against everything that can by any possibility be in the valley of the Shenandoah.
Major-General, Commanding Division.
May 24, 1862-6.50.
Please send all the force you can spare, to re-enforce Banks, speedily as possible.
EDWIN M. STANTON.