War of the Rebellion: Serial 018 Page 0859 Chapter XXIV. CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.-CONFEDERATE.

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been compelled to abandon Fredericksburg. General Augur's division (reported 5,000 strong) is said to occupy Falmouth, and General McDowell, with a large force, to be landing at Aquia. General Field thinks that an attempt will be made to advance on Richmond from that direction. If it is practicable to strike a speedy blow at General Banks and drive him back it will tend to relieve the pressure on Fredericksburg.

I do not know where the forces said to be approaching Fredericksburg are drawn from, unless from those attributed to Banks' column.

I have the honor to be, your obedient servant,

R. E. LEE,



Richmond, Va., April 21, 1862.

Brigadier General C. W. FIELD,

Commanding, &c., near Fredericksburg, Va.:

GENERAL: I am directed by General Lee to acknowledge the receipt of your letter* of 20th instant, with its inclosures, reporting the supposed strength and intentions of the enemy in your front, and to say that no efforts will be spared to re-enforce you as soon as possible. He wishes you to preserve a firm front to the enemy, to keep yourself accurately advised of his strength and movements, and to communicate anything of importance that may occur at once to this office. The telegraphic of importance that may occur at once to this office. The telegraphic operator, with his instruments, will be sent you to-day. Several regiments from the South are expected to day or to-night. Will be forwarded without delay to your support. The general instructs me to add that he desires you to keep your force as near the enemy as is prudent, and not to retire farther than is positively necessary.

I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Assistant Adjutant-General.


Richmond, Va., April 21, 1862.


Commanding Valley District:

GENERAL: General Field reports the occupation of Falmouth by about 5,000 of the enemy, under General Augur, and that it is stated that General McDowell with a large force is landing at Aquia. Five of the enemy's gunboats have ascended the Rappahannock as far as Spotswood Bar, 5 miles below Fredericksburg. I have no doubt an attempt will be made to occupy Fredericksburg and use it as a base of operations against Richmond. Our present force there is very small, and cannot be re-enforced except by weakening other corps. If you can use General Ewell's division in an attack on General Banks, and to drive him back, it will prove a great relief to the pressure on Fredericksburg; but if you should find General Banks too strong to be approached, and your object is to hold General Ewell in supporting distance to your column, he may be of more importance at this time between Fredericksburg and Richmond. I do not know whether your


*See Part I, p. 436.