War of the Rebellion: Serial 018 Page 0896 OPERATIONS IN N. VA., W. VA., AND MD. Chapter XXIV.

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Valley District, as it may facilitate the organization by being in the valley.

I am, general, your obedient servant,




Camp on Massaponax Hill, May 17, 1862.

Major General R. S. EWELL:

GENERAL: My apprehensions of the probable designs of Banks to unite with McDowell and the resulting importance of attacking McDowell without delay are confirmed by your note received through General Branch. I respectfully suggest that you, with General Branch, attack McDowell in the rear by a surprise, if possible; that you advise me of the time of the attack, when I will drive in his pickets and make a vigorous attack on his force on this side, which will draw his whole attention to this side; and I think you could drive his army off the hills into the river, as I have no doubt of being able to press his force on this side across the two pontoon bridges and prevent the army on this side from escaping in that way; or, if you think best, i will march ut the Rapidan, cross over both rivers, and, meeting your forces, march by concerted joint movement against McDowell's rear. I should have to march from 45 to 50 miles to Falmouth by this route to get high enough up the river for this purpose, and the objection to this plan is that it leaves my rear exposed. By the other plan I believe we have it in our power, by a quick movement, to take McDowell's whole army opposite Fredericksburg. It would be gratifying, and probably advantageous, for me to be informed of the strength of your force and its composition, particularly of that part of it under General Branch's command, also what transportation he has. I have discarded tents, and hope to have wagons enough to move, if depots are not too far apart. In the Station or some other one, that I could draw on in case of emergency or disaster at Richmond.

I have the honor to be, general, your obedient servant,


Brigadier-General, Commanding.


Near Richmond, May 17, 1862.

Major General R. S. EWELL:

GENERAL: If Banks is fortifying near Strasburg the attack would be too hazardous. In such an event we must leave him in his works. General Jackson can observe him and you come eastward. If, however Shields is on the Orange and Alexandria Railroad near the Rapidan, it might be worth while for your going forces to attack him, then for you to move on, while General Jackson should keep Banks away from McDowell. We want troops here; none, therefore, must keep away, unless employing a greatly superior force of the enemy. In your march communicate with Brigadier-General Anderson, near Fredericksburg; he may require your assistance. My general idea

is to gather