pickets beyond, and enforce the utmost vigilance and the closest attention. Certainly twenty-four hours should not pass without your hearing from the front. Your position is much that you will be responsible for any surprise of the forces, and it is a responsibility which cannot be shifted from the commander, a part of whose forces occupy the advance. I beg you to give the closest attention to this matter. You are in presence of an active, enterprising enemy, who will lose no chance.
Do not trust to any one in advance, but see everything for yourself through the eves of some good staff officer. I reiterate this caution to you because of the grave consequences which result from carelessness in our front, and it seems to be manifested in the failure to report to you every day. I must hear once a day, at least, from your outposts, as I have requested you.
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF VIRGINIA,
Washington, July 25, 1862-10.30 p.m.
Major General N. P. BANKS,
Commanding Second Corps d'Armee, near Sperryville, Va., and
Commanding First Corps d'Armee, Sperryville, Va.:
Send down word to-night to your advanced posts at Culpeper and Madison Court-House that a strong column of our forces is advancing from Fredericksburg to Orange Court-House, and will probably be at the latter place by daylight to-morrow morning.
By command of Major-General Pope:
GEO. D. RUGGLES,
Colonel and Chief of Staff.
HEADQUARTERS SECOND CORPS D'ARMEE,
July 25, 1862.
A very careful reconnaissance of the road leading from Sperryville to Amissville satisfies me that it cannot be made a safe position for my corps, or one on which it would be possible for me to comply with my orders. I am to hold myself and command in readiness to move at any moment to the right or left. It is possible also that the right and left corps may be required to concentrate on the central position in case of attack.
These roads are for many years disuse; are crossed many times by dreams that are subject to continued, sudden, and heavy rises or freshest; they are wholly impassable after rains, and would be for the trains of either one or two of the corps on this line an impassible communication if suddenly called into action. I have had three parties examine, the route, and cannot doubt the conclusion, in which they all concur, that it is impossible to place the command on this line with safety, so far as movement is concerned.
I see readily that it is the proper military position, and have regretted that it could not at once be made available. Some parts of it are so