there. The enemy is ignorant of my strength. On the 23rd the enemy had twenty- sixth guns. Best's battery, consisting of four or six pieces, was not in the fight. This fives thirty or thirty-two pieces then at Winchester.
Estimating Banks' command that crossed at Harper's Ferry at 22,000, and the Virginia regiment now at Winchester at 800, and the force at Strasburg at 11,200, gives 34,000 infantry. Shields and Williams came from Paw Paw and Hancock.
The enemy at Strasburg believed that I had fallen back to Staunton en route to join you. I will try and correct this error and them fall back, if necessary. I am much obliged to you for telegraphing respecting Field.
Shields had an arm fractured by a shell from Ashby's artillery on last Saturday. It is said that amputation has become necessary.
Very truly, yours,
T. J. JACKSON.
The information respecting troops I regard as entitled to more than ordinary confidence.*
ENGINEER BUREAU, Richmond, March 29, 1862.
Lieutenant CONWAY R. HOWARD,
Crops of Engineers, P. A. C. S., Fort Lowry:
DEAR SIR: I have received your reports on the Rappahannock defenses. It seems to me that one-half mile above Rappahannock is the proper place for the lower main battery and 1 1/2 miles below Fort Lowry the proper position for the light artillery, more especially as I understand there are already entrenchments there and covering creeks. Proceed, therefore, with the utmost vigor in the prosecution of the work on land as well as with the obstacles in the river. Piles will prove your most available means. Make use, however, of every available method.
The work above Rappahannock should be similar to the one proposed at Layton's. Perhaps, however, plain fronts toward the water would be preferable, with ditches flanked by a caponniere and with abatis in front. Of this, however, you must be the judge.
Very respectfully and truly, yours,
ALFRED L. RIVERS,
Acting Chief Engineer Bureau.
N. B.- The Secretary of War deems it important to hold the river as low down as possible, which for the present throws out Layton's, especially as the position just above Rappahannock seems to be nearly, if not quite, equal to it.
HEADQUARTERS VALLEY DISTRICT,
Near Mount Jackson, March 31, 1862.
Colonel S. BASSETT FRENCH,
Aide-de-Camp to Governor of Virginia:
COLONEL: I will see that the religionists who are opposed to fighting, but consent to serve as teamsters, have their pay secured.
*Copy forwarded by Johnston to Lee, march 28, 1862. See Series I, Vol. IX, Part III, p. 406.