evening of Saturday last, 31st ultimo, we were left for nearly forty hours without the means either of transporting the remainder of my infantry by rail or of communicating by telegraph with department headquarters.
I was the more concerned about this state of things because your own and General McDowell's dispatches directed me to push forward my infantry as fast as possible. On the morning of the 1st instant I ordered the cavalry, artillery, and the brigade and division trains to proceed to Hay Market and Thoroughfare, and to await further orders at the latter point.
On the morning of the 2nd instant I was informed by the operator at Manassas that they had had no telegraphic communication with Front Royal, where the department headquarters were presumed to be, for twenty-four hours past, and the railroad dispatcher at Manassas apprised me at the same time that it was entirely uncertain when he could furnish me with sufficient cars to forward the residue of the infantry from Catlett's.
In view of these circumstances I decided, after consulting with Generals Patrick and Gibbon, to march the infantry, subsistence, and cattle across the country to Hay Market, in hopes of there re-establishing our communication with headquarters, and gaining time and distance if an onward movement was contemplated. Accordingly our column was put in march about noon, the division headquarters following after everything had been started from Catlett's.
Gibbon's brigade, which was in the advance, reached Hay Market about 6 p. m., the heat of the weather and condition of the roads compelling us to move slowly, Augur's brigade arriving simultaneously by rail from Front Royal. The cavalry, artillery, and general train, which had gone as far as Thoroughfare, returned about the same time; so that the whole division is now once more concentrated in the immediate neighborhood of Hay Market, on good ground, contiguous to the railroad.
The cattle and subsistence train, under an escort of cavalry, halted last night some miles back, but will be up to-day.
Permission has been asked by several officers to go to Washington for twenty-four or forty-eight hours on special business for their several commands. Will the general commanding authorize me to grant such brief leaves of absence in cases which may be deemed of real necessity?
The generals of brigades and myself would like to call upon the general commanding at headquarters some time to-morrow, if our presence here is not required and we can obtain railroad conveyance to Front Royal.
Is it possible to obtain an instrument and telegraph operator for this point - supposing that we may remain here a few days - to put us in communication with headquarters?
HDQRS. DEPARTMENT OF THE RAPPAHANNOCK,
Front Royal, Va., June 3, 1862.
Chief Quartermaster Shield's Division:
Your communications of the 2nd and 3rd instant, about impressment of horses and sending forward forage and supplies to General Shields'