HEADQUARTERS VALLEY DISTRICT,
Near Mount Jackson, April 17, 1862-5.15 a. m.
Major General R. S. EWELL,
Commanding Potomac District:
MY DEAR GENERAL: The enemy advanced on me at about 2 o'clock this morning and drove in my pickets.
Yesterday morning the enemy surprised and captured nearly 50 of our cavalry, belonging to Captain Harper's company.
If the enemy advances in force I will fall back via Swift Run Gap and send an officer by the same route to join you.
7.5 a. m.-The enemy have advanced two regiments within about 2 miles of Mount Jackson.
Your second dispatch of yesterday has been received, with the accompanying letter from Major Rhett.*
Much obliged for the papers you sent me yesterday.
Very truly, yours,
T. J. JACKSON.
Richmond, April 17, 1862.
General R. S. EWELL,
Commanding Third Division, Rappahannock, Va.:
GENERAL: Your letter of the 16th has been received. General Johnston telegraphed his views to you on the subject. Should they not conflict with your proposition, and you feel reasonably assured that you can strike a successful blow at the enemy in your front, you are authorized to do so. Communicate with Generals Jackson and Field, that the former may be advised and the latter push forward a light corps on your right. The more active the troops on the Rappahannock the more on the defensive will the enemy be kept.
I need not caution you to be watchful and prudent and not to compromit your command. The safety of your line depends on it.
I have the honor to be, your obedient servant,
R. E. LEE,
RICHMOND, April 17, 1862-9.30 a. m.
DEAR GENERAL: I have just received your letter of yesterday an that from General Jackson which you forwarded with it.
The question of attacking the enemy in front of you is one which must be decided on the ground. It would be well to drive him away; you would be freer to aid Jackson, and it might make, perhaps, a diversion in his favor. To decide it you have to consider relative forces, the enemy's position, and the facilities for crossing the river. If these are favorable, counted with our confidence in the superiority of our troops-if you feel confident after considering these things, attack. Should you do so, apply your whole ----; instruct every brigade to press forward with the utmost vigor. Write to me through General Cooper's office. I am just about to set off to the Peninsula.
J. E. JOHNSTON.