HDQRS. SECOND CORPS, ARMY OF VIRGINIA,
August 4, 1862-8 p. m.
Colonel GEORGE D. RUGGLES,
Chief of Staff, &c.:
COLONEL: In answer to the letter of instructions received to-day* at 1 p. m. from the commanding general, it gives me pleasure to say:
1st. That the trains will be in readiness to move by "to-morrow night."
2nd. That the Purnell Legion, officers and men, will accept "with great pleasure" the position assigned to them.
3rd. That I can move my command direct to Woodville by the Sperryville road. There is a road (country road) direct from Washington, but it would be impossible to get our trains over it even for a single trip. The river crosses it eight times in the first 5 miles from Washington. A party has been ordered to improve the pike road, and it will be in condition for speedy marches, if necessary.
4th. There is a road leading from the Sperryville pike, near Hazel River, direct to the junction of Robertson's and Crooked Rivers, but it is rough and very bad-one of the country roads, but passable I doubt not. I expected this evening a more full description of it, but it has not yet reached me. It will be forwarded as soon as received. It may be assumed that there is such a road, of which use can be made.
5th. The division have the requisite days' rations.
I have the honor to be, with respect, your obedient servant,
N. P. BANKS,
HDQRS. SECOND CORPS D'ARMEE, ARMY OF VIRGINIA,
August 4, 1862.
Colonel WILLIAM O. REDDEN,
Commanding at Front Royal:
COLONEL: Your dispatch of the 3rd instant,* for which I thank you, I received this morning at 11 a. m. The removal of your camp is in very respect an advantage. I am glad to learn that the works are commenced. I hope you will drive them to completion as speedily as possible. All your interests and those of your command lie in that direction. Intrenching tools are expected here hourly and will be forwarded at once.
The difficulties you suggest in regard to Captain Munther are natural, and the same experience occurs with us as with you. He is, however, an engineer sent by the Government for the direction of affairs within his profession, the only one I had when he left my quarters, and it will be necessary in the duties with which he is charged to follow substantially his plains. You will aid him as far as you can, and I shall direct him, while seeking your aid, not to interfere with your command.
The position to which you refer I am well acquainted with. I examined it before the late attack on Front Royal. It commands, as you say, the whole country, but is a secondary, not a primary, position.
The river is your line; with intrenchments you are there secure. If the enemy attacks you from the town, the river, entrenched, is your defense. If he attacks from the other side, you cross the river and with intrenchments defend again. If upon an attack you are driven from