HDQRS. VALLEY DISTRICT, NEAR MOUNT JACKSON,
March 25, 1862-11 p. m.
General JOSEPH E. JOHNSTON,
Commanding Department of Northern Virginia:
MY DEAR GENERAL: Your two dispatches of yesterday* are at hand. As Stuart reported to you, a long train of wagons passed toward Castleman's Ferry. According to my information the baggage of 12,000 men passed from Winchester to the ferry. As stated in my dispatch of this morning,* there was a trestle bridge at Castleman's, and that it broke last Sunday in consequence of passing troops over it. I omitted to state this morning that there was another large train moving from Winchester in the direction of Castleman's on last Sunday, and as it did not move with troops it was supposed to contain army supplies; this may have been the train to which Stuart refers.
I remained in Woodstock until the enemy were within 3 miles of the place, when I fell back 8 miles to this place. As there are two favorable positions for retarding his advance between here and Woodstock, I design making use of them if he continues to advance. Should he force me beyond New Market, i will continue up the valley, and I am thankful to hear that you will re-enforce me. Please let the re-enforcements, if they do not join me at New Market, delay their march so as to come in the enemy's rear and obstruct the road so as to prevent his return whilst I obstruct in front. A panic will probably ensue and his destruction effected with little loss to us. I will communicate with the commander of the re-enforcements and try to prevent the enemy from receiving notice of their approach. Should your re-enforcements join me at New Market, i will with them make a stand at the first favorable position.
I wrote by an officer going to your headquarters, requesting that you would, if practicable, send me 400 rounds Parrott ammunition. Since writing my dispatch of yesterday I have ascertained that two pieces of artillery were captured by the enemy. But one had been reported to me at that time.
The distance from Winchester to Strasburg is 18 miles; from Strasburg to Woodstock, 12; from Woodstock to Mount Jackson, 12; from Mount Jackson to New Market, 8; from New Market to Harrisonburg 17, from Harrisonburg to Staunton, 25. I have an officer examining the road from New Market to Gordonsville. When he reports I will give the distances on that road.
Very truly, yours,
T. J. JACKSON.
Should the officer in command of the re-enforcements obstruct the road in rear of the enemy, it should be done beyond New Market, so that he may, if necessary, fall back toward Gordonsville; it would not be safe to fall back on the valley turnpike this side of New Market, as he might be caught between two bodies of the enemy. He could afterward join me in the pursuit.
GENERAL ORDERS, HDQRS. DEPT. NORTHERN VIRGINIA,
Numbers 35. Rapidan, March 25, 1862.
I. Brigadier General Charles S. Winder, Provisional Army, Confederate States, is assigned to the command of the brigade now commanded by Colonel George B. Anderson.