War of the Rebellion: Serial 018 Page 0276 OPERATIONS IN N. VA., W. VA., AND MD. Chapter XXIV.

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it is the enemy's design to invade Maryland and Washington. He reports the enemy to be in force before him at Williamsport, and also threatening Harper's Ferry.

Fremont was heard from this evening 10 miles east of Moorefield. He was informed of the position of the enemy, and has orders to move upon him.

Considering the condition of the force in Washington, I submit it to your judgment whether at least a part of King's force should not be brought here. Is it not possible that the Potomac may be crossed below Harper's Ferry? If this be done in any force, Washington City will be in danger with only its present garrison. general Meigs suggest this latter contingency, and thinks the safety of the city requires an increase of the garrison. The transportation has been ordered to Aquia Creek, and the movement can be made as soon as the troops can reach the wharf.

EDWIN M. STANTON,

Secretary of War.

HDQRS. DEPARTMENT OF THE RAPPAHANNOCK,

Manassas, May 29, 1862. (Received 5.40 a. m.)

Honorable E. M. STANTON,

Secretary of War:

I have ordered King's division to move immediately to this line to go against the rear of the enemy, now between Winchester and the Potomac. I think it better to concentrate than to divide the force now in the field. I do not believe of the enemy's ability to cross the Potomac in force and go down on Washington. They are neither bold nor strong enough, and we are neither weak nor timid enough, for that. Generals Banks and Saxton are able and will prevent their passing the river if they have any such intention. I think they will be abundantly satisfied if they force us to burn the bridge and destroy the ferry. I think the garrison of Washington might be increased from the North, but it would be a most damaging confession of weakness in us to throw into it our forces from the field - a step only to be justified by a degree of probable danger to which I do not think we have arrived. I shall push Shields and Ord forward to-day as far as legs and steam will allow. Shields was at Rectortown last night. Railroad and telegraph in order to that place. Bridges burned over Goose Creek. I may be short of wagons when I get to the end of railroad. I have supplies on the Fredericksburg line which are coming over, and I hope to make a shift with what I have till they come up or I get some more from Washington. I will spare nothing to get forward, and hope to be able to do so rapidly. Ord's division is new and but imperfectly organized and provided, still I trust to get it ahead.

IRVIN MCDOWELL,

Major-General, Commanding.

MAY 29, 1862. (Received 11.40 a. m.)

Honorable E. M. STANTON,

Secretary of War:

Supply train ran off the track at Thoroughfare Gap and has blocked up the road. General Shields telegraphs from Rectortown that he needs