War of the Rebellion: Serial 018 Page 0332 OPERATIONS IN N. VA., W. VA., AND MD. Chapter XXIV.

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HDQRS. DEPARTMENT OF THE RAPPAHANNOCK,

Front Royal, June 4, 1862.

(Received June 5, 10.40 a. m.)

Honorable E. M. STANTON,

Secretary of War:

The heavy rains, which continue to fall and which cover a large extent of country, are causing heavy freshest. We are trying to save the bridge of South Shenandoah, but have but little hope of doing so. The river is rising fast. The railroad bridges behind us are giving way. Nothing to-day from General Fremont. Major-General Shields is still at Luray.

IRVIN MCDOWELL,

Major-General, Commanding.

FRONT ROYAL, June 4, 1862.

(Received June 5, 12.30 p. m.)

Honorable E. M. STANTON,

Secretary of War:

In view of the present position of the troops in this quarter and of the supposed position in of the enemy's forces and of the offensive and defensive operations to be carried on, I trust it may not be considered improper if, from my present point of view, I make the following suggestions:

First. Extend the limits of the Mountain Department eastward to the road running from Williamsport to Martinsburg, Winchester, Strasburg, to the south.

Second. Extend the Department of the Shenandoah eastward to take from the Department of the Rappahannock what is known as the Piedmont District, which comprises the country between the Blue Ridge and the lesser ridges to the east, known as the Bull Run Mountain, Carter's Mountain, & c.

Let General Fremont continue to occupy and operate in force on the line he is now upon up the west bank of the North Shenandoah, having a strong place at or near Mount Jackson or New Market, completing at the same time the work commenced by General Banks at Strasburg. The troops on this line can be supplied over an excellent road running directly to the rear or by the railroad coming from Alexandria to Strasburg. Let General Banks, with the divisions of Williams and General Sigel, occupy in force the line up the east bank of the South Shenandoah, establishing a strong place near Luray, with his depot at Front Royal. This will effectually guard against another raid such as has been committed by Jackson, will at the same time aid in effectually covering Washington, and will free the forces of the Department of the Rappahannock to act either in conjunction with those under McClellan against Richmond, as was arranged, or if not needed there, to go offensively on the line of the Orange and Alexandria Railroad toward Gordonsville, Charlottesville, & c.

IRVIN MCDOWELL.

JUNE 5, 1862.

P. S. - The above was intended to be sent to Washington by General Van Renssealer yesterday, but he being prevented from going forward by the destruction of a bridge, it is sent by telegraph.

I. MCD.