WHITE PLAINS, May 25, 1862.
His Excellency ABRAHAM LINCOLN,
President of the United States:
I have just returned from an investigation of the position at Thoroughfare Gap, and am but now in receipt of your telegram. The enemy are passing up from Front Royal, between the Blue [Ridge] Mountains and the river, to Ashby's Gap, at which place I have heard the firing of their guns. This fact is also corroborated by contrabands, who say their force intends crossing by Snickersville to Leesburg, there to seize the fortifications and maintain a position in that section. My information shows the enemy to be in full possession of the country between Front Royal and Ashby's Gap between the mountains and the river. My impression is that the number thus traveling cannot be short of 7,000 or 8,000, who I understand are supported by large forces at Front Royal, of which I can form no correct estimate, but they are reported to be large. The forces moving between me and the mountains are not in heavy bodies, as far as I can learn. Forces have crossed at Manassas Gap and are now in front of me. Contrabands have told me that they have heard letters read in families of secessionists in which they belong stating that 10,000 cavalry are about passing through this valley from the direction of Warrenton.
JNO. W. GEARY,
May 25, 1862.
The force under General Geary, as well as that under General Duryea, are placed under your command. You will give notice to General Geary, and direct him to report to you.
EDWIN M. STANTON,
Secretary of War.
May 25, 1862-11.25 p. m.
JOHN TUCKER, Esq., Fort Monroe:
Events have hurried so rapidly that I have had time to communicate nothing but orders. The enemy attacked Front Royal Friday, and destroyed the troops there and advanced to cut off Banks. He reached Winchester; was attacked to-day; after a hard fight of several hours was completely routed, his force in a great measure destroyed. The rebel force against him was about 12,000. Heavy columns of the enemy are moving through Markham's Gap and by Front Royal toward the Potomac all day. A part of McDowell's force has been recalled to this city. Our condition is one of considerable danger, as we are stripped to supply the Army of the Potomac, and now have the enemy here.
EDWIN M. STANTON.
16 R R-VOL XII, PT III