War of the Rebellion: Serial 018 Page 0603 Chapter XXIV. CORRESPONDENCE, ETC. - UNION.

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August 20, 1862. (Received 7 p. m.)

Major-General HALLECK, Commander-in-Chief:

Your dispatch of this afternoon was received. That you may know exactly my condition I append a statement of my effective force. General McDowell's corps, 18,000 men; General Sigel's, 12,000; Banks', 7,000; General Reno's, 8,000, making 45,000 men for duty. General Sigel has not yet arrived, but will probably be here to-night. General Reno is 5 miles below, at Kelly's Ford, which is one of the best on the river, and must be maintained to prevent our being turned by the left. I shall mass all the rest of my forces here, contenting myself with strong pickets at the fords above. For entire security I shall send back all my trains to Catlett's Station, and rely upon the railroad to deliver supplies from time to time. Our true position, as it seems to me, should the enemy advance with his whole force, would be considerably in rear of the Rappahannock, until we are strong enough to advance. But I presume my position here is regulated by the arrival of McClellan's forces on the Lower Rappahannock. The line of the Rappahannock offers no advantage for defense, but you may rely upon our making a very hard fight in case the enemy advances on us. He has already driven our cavalry across the river on the Culpeper road from this place and his advance is in sight, but I think it only a reconnaissance, as he has not yet had time to bring up his main force. I would suggest that General Porter be pushed up at once to Barnett's Ford.




Rappahannock Crossing, August 20, 1862.


Supt. of Railroads, Army of Virginia, Alexandria, Va.:

I wish train of 20 cars for subsistence to be kept constantly for the order of Colonel E. G. Beckwith, chief commissary at these headquarters. This train is required to keep the troops supplied with rations, as I am about to send back all my wagons and wish no depot. I wish you would see that this train runs specially according to orders, as we depend upon it for the daily bread of this command. I desire also that you send nearly the whole of the rolling stock of the road to be switched off on the side tracks either at Catlett's or Warrenton Junction, so that in case of necessity I can carry off all the baggage and material of this army by railroad at the shortest notice. I shall have no wagons left here for that purpose. Inform General Halleck whether you station the trains at Catlett's or Warrenton Junction.


Major-General, Commanding.


August 20, 1862.

Major-General RENO:

GENERAL: The enemy has driven our cavalry in across the river and seems to be advancing in considerable force. You had best bring