My impressions at this time are that Hill (A. P.) is at Front Royal, and Jackson behind Thornton's Gap;that Hill, if he gets a chance, will break through Chester Gap, pass Barbee's, and push toward Salem and toward Gainesville; while Jackson will pass down to Culpeper, by Woodville, when we move on that place.
At this time I think an infantry force of several brigades should hold Barbee's Cross-Roads. It is a most important point, covering Salem, Markham, Piedmont, Warrenton, and Orleans. Cavalry cannot hold it against infantry. Then, if the general will permit me to suggest, a bold movement of two or three corps thrown rapidly on the road between Thornton's Gap and Culpeper, by the way of Jefferson, Thompsonville, and Newby's Cross-Roads, would cut Jackson off, and attack Culpeper with great advantage, in connection with any other operations contemplated.
The enemy are, I think, somewhat disconcerted just now, and rapid movements may prove of more value than hard fighting hereafter. An express has just come in from my squadrons on the road to Culpeper, reporting Stuart with some guns and a considerable force of cavalry at that position. He had attacked them, and was driving them back. This was 6 miles from here and 9 from Culpeper. I have sent out re-enforcements to my squadrons.
November 9, 1862 - 2.30 p. m.
GENERAL: An intelligent negro has just come in from Jackson's army. He left it yesterday. He says Jackson is posted at Chester Gap, with his troops on this and the other side of the mountain, and cannon posted all through the gap. General Ewell is within [the gap]. The balance of the army is at Culpeper, covering the shipping off of the produce from this upper country.
There is two weeks' supply at Culpeper yet to be hauled off, and a large quantity in the valleys beyond yet to be hauled to Culpeper, and the rebels are terribly frightened lest we push through and get their stuff and cut them off. He says that these supplies are being sent to Charlottesville, Petersburg, and Lynchburg, and that the rebels, if cut off, intend to make their last stand in the mountains about Lynchburg. He says our army is from two to three weeks ahead of the time the rebels expected us. He says Jackson is very much alarmed at our rapid advance, and expects Lee to come back if we attack him.
Jackson has about 40,000 men with him. He further says, to cut off their supplies, we must push a force to Woodville.
Jackson thinks we will attack him in Chester Gap; that if we do not, he will come in our rear from there after we pass. This negro knows all this country; has been with Jackson from the start, as servant to Surgeon Campbell. I shall keep him as a guide. He tells the same tale about the soldiers being tired, unclad, and strictly guarded. He says many would gladly be paroled if they could get the chance. This programme agrees with the suggestions I submitted this morning. My advance yesterday created great alarm with the rebels, and they thought their communication was going to be cut off immediately. Last night they pushed down wagons to Culpeper.