War of the Rebellion: Serial 018 Page 0884 OPERATIONS IN N. VA., W. VA., AND MD. Chapter XXIV.

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nock, leaving a sufficient force to watch the pass through Swift Run Gap. Moreover, in this latter position he would be enabled the more readily to en-enforce General Anderson, who is this side of Fredericksburg, if necessary; of course the above course would only be pursued when it was positively ascertained that the enemy intended leaving the valley. General Ewell states in his letter of the 6th instant that he will not leave his position at Swift Run Gap until the enemy have entirely left the valley or until he has orders to that effect from you.

I, am very respectfully, your obedient servant,

R. E. LEE,



May 8, 1862-5.10 a. m.

Major General R. S. EWELL:

GENERAL: If the enemy are in the vicinity of New Market I hope that he will remain there. All that I desire you to do is to keep near enough to Banks to let him know that if the goes down the valley you will follow him and that you are all the time in striking distance of him. I can only give general instructions; you must conform to circumstances; but try to avoid bringing on a general engagement with Banks' present force, unless he attempts to cross the Blue Ridge, where you can meet him in a strong position.

So far the enemy has abandoned the greater part of his baggage; about enough for a regiment. General Johnson had a skirmish yesterday; killed and wounded several and took 2 prisoners. One of them states that Milroy has about 6,000 men, and that Schenck is about a day's march from him with 6,000 more. Johnson is on the top of the Shenandoah, 28 miles from Staunton; we were west of the mountain yesterday evening, but the enemy opened upon us with artillery and prevented our encamping there, as I desired; consequently I fell back to a more secure position. This morning we move forward, and I pray that God will bless us with success. So long as Banks remains at New Market it would not be prudent for you to advance on him via Harrisonburg. Should he abandon Columbia Bridge I hope that you will place a guard there.

Very respectfully, yours,




Richmond, Va., May 8, 1862.

Major General R. S. EWELL,

Commanding, &c., beyond Gordonsville, Va.:

GENERAL: I have had the honor to receive your letter of the 6th instant,* reporting the movements of the enemy down the valley and the condition of affairs east of the Blue Ridge. As I telegraphed you on the same day as the date of your letter, I see no necessity for retaining your division at Swift Run Gap, if it is ascertained that the intention of the enemy is to retire from the valley and that he no longer meditates and advance toward Stunton. From present indica-


*Not found.