War of the Rebellion: Serial 018 Page 0375 Chapter XXIV. CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.-UNION.

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to you to transmit them by messenger to Major-General Shields at Luray.*


Colonel and Chief of Staff.


Manassas, June 12, 1862.

Brigadier-General RICKETTS,

Commanding at Front Royal:

Major-General McDowell directs that no movement of any part of your division now at Front Royal be made, but you are to hold yourself in readiness to move on the Luray road to support or re-enforce General Shields. Your two brigades and artillery and cavalry must remain, irrespective of any which General Crawford may have.


Colonel and Chief of Staff.


Manassas, June 12, 1862-2.50 p. m.

Honorable E. M. STANTON:

I have received a dispatch from Major-General Shields, dated Columbia Brigade, June 11, 9 o'clock a. m., of which the following is an extract:

We are now passing from this place to Luray. There I must take a few days' rest, to refit for the march to Catlett's. Our men fought like devils. The enemy suffered terribly. The odds were overwhelming. The officer, Colonel Carroll, neglected to burn the bridge at Port Republic. The report to me that the bridge was burned five weeks ago deceived me. He held it three-quarters of an hour, and wanted the good sense to burn it. They took and indefensible position afterward instead of falling back to a defensible one; but notwithstanding all these blunders the men behaved nobly and left the ground in perfect order; brought off everything but the guns, which had to be abandoned, the horses being killed. Eight pieces they report abandoned.

That the odds were overwhelming I am constrained to say was owing to the neglect of the division commander of my instructions to him that to whatever distance he might feel himself justified in going, he was to have his force so that the several parts should be within supporting distance of each other. I have called the general's attention to this, and he states in reply that my remarks in reference to sending part of his command ahead without support from the residue would be applicable were it not that his command was separated by the torrents that rushed upon him from the mountains, and that he was compelled, in order to subsist his command, to keep the greater portion at Luray, and that he had been unable to bring them together until yesterday. The general adds that his greatest fault has been that he had not calculated upon the effect of scudded rains in the narrow valley. I knew these rains had destroyed his communications east and west, but was not aware they prevented his moving north and south on the road on which his brigades were operating. From the enemy's accounts the general's troops fought well and inflicted a heavy loss.


Major-General, Commanding.


*See Banks to Stanton, June 12, 1.30 a. m., and McClellan to, Stanton June 11, 11 a. m., pp. 372, 373.