War of the Rebellion: Serial 018 Page 0268 OPERATIONS IN N. VA., W. VA., AND MD. Chapter XXIV.

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should not push through and join the army under General McClellan, that I do not think, in the present state of affairs, it would be well to attempt to push trough a part of that force, or to leave Fredericksburg otherwise than strongly held, which could not be done as the troops are now posted. I trust in a few days to be able to effect the object you have in view, and which no one desires more that I do.

IRVIN MCDOWELL,

Major-General.

MANASSAS, May 28, 1862. (Received 5.55 p. m.)

Honorable E. M. STANTON, Secretary of War:

As department commander, I beg leave to report that I do not consider Washington City in any danger by reason of there being only 300 cavalry there. I have though, and think, there is no military necessity for any greater cavalry force in the city than is sufficient for police purposes; and that the capital would be much better and more satisfactorily protected by horsemen patrolling the country in front and keeping us informed a to the enemy than by anything they might attempt to do in the city itself. I did not know, however, the number was as low as 300. I thought General Wadsworth had a regiment of cavalry, or about three times the number you report. I just learn that part of the regiment I thought was with him is now at Aldie, under Brigadier-General Geary. I never sent them there nor placed them under him. I will order to General Wadsworth a part of the First Michigan Regiment, amounting to 419, which I found here also under General Geary. How it came so I do not know. The regiment was in an unserviceable condition when I found it, the horses all requiring shoeing, which I have had attended to, and by to-morrow morning they will be able to go to Washington.

Very respectfully,

IRVIN MCDOWELL,

Major-General.

WASHINGTON, May 28, 1862 - 7 p. m.

Major-General MCDOWELL:

The following telegram has just been received from General Saxton:

HARPER'S FERRY, May 28.

Honorable E. M. STANTON:

I found the enemy so strong beyond Charlestown that I was obliged to fall back to this place after driving them through Charlestown. They were re-enforced by nine pieces of artillery and large force of infantry. At least 6,000 or 7,000 in Charlestown or in front of me. I expect an attack at night or in the morning.

In the affair of to-day I lost 1 captain and 6 or 7 men taken prisoners and 6 or 8 wounded. Our troops retired in good order, and are in position. Cannot troops be sent to guard the railroad in my rear?

R. SAXTON,

Brigadier-General.

EDWIN M. STANTON.

WASHINGTON, May 28, 1862 - 7.12 p. m.

Major-General MCDOWELL, Manassas:

You will exercise your own discretion as to whether you will send the Michigan cavalry here or employ them anywhere else. It is for