War of the Rebellion: Serial 018 Page 0422 OPERATIONS IN N. VA., W. VA., AND MD. Chapter XXIV.

Search Civil War Official Records

about the First Maine Cavalry and that of the result of the reconnaissance and expected raid on the railroad.


Chief of Staff.

MANASSAS, June 22, 1862-5.30 p. m.

Honorable E. M. STANTON,

Secretary of War:

Your telegram communicating one from General Banks concerning Shields' withdrawal from Front Royal, and acquainting me that about fifty miles of telegraph wire is left exposed to be taken by the enemy, if just received.

The following are all the orders given to General Shields and under which he left Front Royal:

MANASSAS, June 19, 1862-5.30 p. m.

Get your division ready to move to this place immediately on being furnished with trains, orders for which have been sent to the railway superintendent.

Your artillery carriages will be put on platform cars, so that your horses may come light; your infantry on cars, and your cavalry and trains under a small infantry guard by the best wagon road.

Before you leave make strong reconnaissance, so that you may be sure the enemy will not attack you coming here.

If there is the slightest chance of an attack, of course you must not put your artillery on the cars.

The only information given General Shields, and which caused him to change the manner of his leaving from that ordered by me, was that received through the War Department from General McClellan, General Fremont, and General Banks himself.

The following is General Shields' telegram:

FRONT ROYAL, June 20, 1862-6 p. m.

The Fourth Ohio left in cars at 4 p. m., since which time your dispatch respecting re-enforcements having reached the enemy is received. I found on consideration the separating troops would increase the danger and not insure a speedy arrival of the whole at Manassas. Upon inquiry of the superintendent I found it impossible to move the rear of my command from this place in less than three days, taking the delay of road into consideration. I concluded to put the whole column in motion to-morrow morning at 5 o'clock by Manassas Gap route, sending baggage and foot-sore and sick by rail this evening.

General Banks had been early notified of the intention to withdraw General Shields. If General Banks has now means satisfactory to himself of getting over the river he can occupy Front Royal whenever he sees fit. The road hence to Front Royal is by the orders of the War Department under his control, and General Geary, also under his orders, reoccupies the line. There is a telegraph operator at Rectortown. The whole matter is now entirely, it seems to me, with General Banks.

Since writing the above the following has been received from General Banks, which would go toward justifying General Shields' manner of leaving Front Royal:

MIDDLETOWN, June 22, 1862-1.45 p. m.

Major Town, First Michigan Cavalry, made a reconnaissance toward Luray yesterday, returning at 2 a. m. Union people reported the enemy in force in and about Luray. At Milford it was fully believed that Jackson, lightly equipped, was moving toward the railroad to intercept Shields. A majority of people would say nothing of enemy's position.

I have a report at 1.30 p. m. to-day from General Shields, at Salem, which would put him beyond danger of being intercepted without he