tions it is thought that the column under General Banks will attempt to form a junction with that opposite Fredericksburg, under General McDowell. If you ascertain this to be the fact an opportunity might be presented for intercepting Banks' march and striking him a blow while en route for Fredericksburg, and with this view it is suggested that you move the bulk of your command to Gordonsville, on the line of the Rappahannock, so as to have it available for the purpose, and moreover to enable you more readily to form a junction with the force this side of Fredericksburg, under General Anderson. If necessary, a small force could be left to watch the pass through Swift Run Gap if the above course is adopted. I have to-day written to General Jackson, advising him of the contents of this letter. Should you move, you will report the fact to him.
In addition to the brigade of General Branch, that of General Mahone, from the Department of Norfolk, has been ordered to Gordonsville to report to you for duty. Two regiments of the latter have already left this city for that place.
I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
R. E. LEE,
CONRAD'S STORE, Swift Run Gap, May 8, 1862.
General R. E. LEE, Commanding, &c.:
GENERAL: There has been no change of affairs here since I wrote last. General Jackson is still up the valley; his directions to me are to remain where I am. General Banks is encamped from in and around New Market to the Columbia Bridge.
General Branch reported three regiments of his brigade were at Gordonsville. I ordered two to the Rapidan, the Federals having been reported across the Rappahannock, near Brandy.
I have General Trimble's brigade on this pass, and one regiment holding Friters' (or Williams') Gap, leading to Madison Cort-House from New Market.
There have been two or three skirmishers, one pretty sharp one yesterday, between Colonel Hays' Seventh Louisiana and an Indiana regiment (Thirteenth) of General Shields' brigade; the latter left 9 dead, 24 prisoners, and fled in great confusion.
R. S. EWELL,
RICHMOND, VA., May 10, 1862.
Respectfully forwarded for information of General Johnston, commanding Northern Virginia.
R. E. LEE,
Richmond, May 10, 1862.
Brigadier General JOSEPH R. ANDERSON, Commanding, &c.:
GENERAL: I have received your letter of the 9th instant, and in view of the greatly superior force of the enemy, as represented must counsel