HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF VIRGINIA, Washington, D. C., July 19, 1862.
I was greatly surprised to learn from General Hatch's dispatch to you, which I received last night, that he had gone to execute the duty I assigned to him, with infantry, artillery, and a wagon train. I never dreamed of such a thing. The whole movement, as you will see from all my dispatches, was purely a cavalry operation, to be made rapidly and for a specific purpose. Do not on any account permit the infantry and train to go beyond Gordonsville. I fear the whole object of the expedition is frustrated by the terrible delay occasioned by this strange misapprehension. The cavalry should have pushed through to Charlottesville within thirty-six hours after my orders were received. It has been a great mistake, and may possible lead to serious consequences. Send forward at once and stop the infantry and train. Had General Hatch pushed forward when and as I directed he would have found no enemy at Gordonsville, and from all accounts none at Charlottesville. Please refer to my dispatches, and require from General Hatch a written explanation why he departed from my instructions.
HEADQUARTERS KING'S DIVISION, Fredericksburg, July 19, 1862.
Colonel J. M. DAVIES:
COLONEL: As soon as you can cross the river with your command I desire that you will proceed with all dispatch to the line of the Central Virginia Railroad, in the vicinity of Beaver Dam, and endeavor, as far as possible, to break up the railroad communication, destroy the depots, and intercept the telegraph. To perform this work effectually your movements must be VXK secret and rapid. A night march is the best adapted to the purpose, and the men should carry with them as little as possible besides their arms, accouterments, and two days' cooked rations.
For forage you must depend mainly on the country, but whatever is necessary must be taken by the proper officers, and in the way pointed out by General Orders, Nos. 5 and 6, Headquarters Army of Virginia. A guide acquainted with the country will accompany you, and all necessary precautions will be taken against surprise or attack by a superior force.
In addition to the special service required, you will collect what information you can regard to the Central Railroad, its bridges, depots, guards, &c., and also to the strength, positions, and movements of any bodies of the enemy between Richmond and Gordonsville or anywhere on our front.
The telegraph operator at Fredericksburg will give you information as to the readiest mode of intercepting communication by the wires.
I have only to say in conclusion that, with vigilance, promptness, and daring, all that is desired may be accomplished at little risk, and it is believed within thirty-five or forty hours.