bridges, and soon connected them. Hearing of the failure of the Manassas Railroad, I feared want of supplies, so I put two flour-mills in operation at Luray; collected millers from my command, and Major Munn, the provost-marshall at Luray, runs them night and day and furnishes us ample flour to live, but our means of baking are so indifferent that we cannot march without hard bread. There are two other mills near Columbia Bridge which will go into operation as soon as the water falls. We also, in the mean time, constructed a ferry across the Shenandoah at the Columbia Bridge capable of transporting infantry, cavalry, and artillery, and have opened communication with General Fremont.
On the evening of the 6th instant I sent a party of cavalry and infantry through the Gap to New Market. They found that the enemy had passed the day before and that Fremont had just passed. One was sent to his headquarters, and one of his aides-de-camp to my quarters last night with the communication marked A.* He lets me know that on the 6th Jackson was about 9 miles above Harrisonburg, on the way to Staunton, and finding great difficulty in getting along. His men are deserting in hundreds; he crosses and burns the bridges after him. Ashby has infernal activity and ingenuity in this way. Jackson's men appear to be suffering for provisions, he says. The prisoners we take say they have been on half rations. Their supply of ammunition seems by their cautious mode of firing to be nearly exhausted. He is doubtless pushing toward Staunton, and perhaps turning a part of his train toward Port Republic to escape by Waynesborough or Stanardsville.
The head of Jackson's retreating column may be at Staunton this morning; the head of my column, as you will see by Document B,* is in Port Republic. Port Republic is 18 miles from Waynesborough, where I am trying to get. If I get there first, and I think I will, the bridge will be burned and the railroad cut up. This will arrest him and get him between Fremont's command and ours. If his train attempts to go to Stanardsville we will have it, or if to Waynesborough we will have it. I think the head of our column will be in Waynesborough to-night. I am sending information to General Fremont of my exact position, so we may co-operate. I think we have Jackson, but I beg you will the commanding general know that we have to guard our flanks, and this weakens, us.
Longstreet was between Thornton's Gap and Gordonsville with, say, 8,000 men. This is what brought me back here last night. Our reconnaissance, however, which are still going on, report him as having fallen back. Then there is the turnpike from Harrisonburg to Orange Court-House and thence to Gordonsville, still more dangerous. I have only been able to push forward two brigades against Jackson while Longstreet was in Thornton's Gap, but to-day I am preparing to push forward a third, to hold the road to Stanardsville for the present.
I repeat, my advance will be in Waynesborough to-night, and this I think will head Jackson, but you will see how extended my line is and what a length of flank I have to defend.
I wish you would request the commanding general to push forward two brigades to aid me as speedily as possible, one between this and Columbia Bridge, where my Second Brigade is now, to be ready to move either to Luray or Conrad's Store, the other to Luray. This will make everything sure. There is flour here to supply them. I will