HEADQUARTERS SHIELDS' DIVISION,
En route for Luray, June 2, 1862.
Honorable E. M. STANTON,
Secretary of War, Washington:
Jackson passed through Strasburg Saturday and Sunday. Fremont has not been heard from yet. There was firing at Strasburg yesterday - supposed to be Banks in the rear. My poor command were without provisions twenty-four hours. We would have occupied Strasburg, but dare not interfere with what was designed for Fremont. His failure has saved Jackson. I will force my way down to Stanardsville to cut him off, but the railroad is miserable, and miserably managed. Cars are running off the track and coming in collision. I never saw anything like the want of efficiency and skill in organization. Our telegraph line ought to be in operation, but it has no working party. I let them have my pioneers, whom I need now. General McDowell has done everything to mend matters, but not much can be done with such means. We have too many men here, and no supplies. How I will get along I do not know, but I will trust to luck - seize cattle, live on beef - to catch Jackson. I could stampede them to Richmond had I even supplies of hard bread and a little forage. I have no fears of their numbers, which have been ridiculously exaggerated by fear.
My dear friend, see the President. He has confidence, I know, in me. Tell him that my opinion is to put things back again where they were as soon as possible. Bring Fremont's force, or part of it, to Strasburg, Banks to Front Royal, McDowell again to Fredericksburg, where I can join him, and we will hurl them out of Richmond as fast as we can march. Here now the men will starve. Too many men; no supplies. Again I repeat, General McDowell has shown great energy in forwarding everything. As for myself, I did all man could do under the circumstances. Permit me again to declare that no man could have done more than General McDowell did to achieve everything possible. With him we can accomplish a great deal down South. Let me suggest, most respectfully, to restore things as they were. Bring Fremont's force to Strasburg and Banks to Front Royal -both are impregnable in the hands of men who know how to hold them - and General McDowell again to Fredericksburg, where I could join him.
HEADQUARTERS DETACHED BRIGADE,
Ashby's Gap, Va., June 2, 1862.
Commanding Department of the Rappahannock:
GENERAL: The recent rains have caused a rise in the river, which renders the fords at and near this place difficult, if not impracticable, for the passage of troops.
In accordance with your instructions I have sent cavalry along the Blue [Ridge] Mountains and the river, to proceed as far as the Potomac River, to ascertain what rebel troops, if any, are upon Loudoun Heights, and any other information relative to the position of Jackson's army that they may be enabled to obtain.
I have-not yet had a report from any place farther than Hillsborough.