sas, and to intercept any movement he may intend through Manassas and Thoroughfare, or Ashby's and Aldie, Gaps, the commanding general directs that you at once advance a brigade to Centreville, increasing this force to a division at the earliest possible moment thereafter. The cavalry reconnaissance toward Ashby's Gap will cover their movement to-day, but as soon as it returns a strong force of cavalry must be pushed as far as possible toward the Rapidan, to observe the enemy's movements in that quarter.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
RICH'D B. IRWIN,
Captain, Aide-de-Camp, and Actg. Asst. Adjt. General
HEADQUARTERS DEFENSES OF WASHINGTON,
September 21, 1862.
Chief of Staff, Headquarters of the Army:
GENERAL: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of Major Brayton's telegram to General Houpt, from your headquarters.
The reconnaissance of 2,000 cavalry, with artillery, instructed to go to Ashby's Gap, or as far in that direction as possible, and which left Arlington yesterday morning, will intercept, or at least ascertain, any and all movements contemplated by the enemy in the direction of Manassas Gap, which is the first mountain pass south of Ashby's, and distant from Ashby's about 10 miles.
It is expected the force will return by the way of Manassas Railroad. Measures will be taken to intercept any movement of the enemy in retreat by the way of the Rapidan. But is does not seem probable that they will retreat in that direction. They will probably place the mountains between our army and theirs, and fortify strongly all the passes.
If the statement of the refugees to Major Brayton be correct, is it not probable that the repairs of railroads and bridges has reference to the reoccupation of Manassas?
The conscription referred to is in the ordinary course of the rebel orders for the re-enforcement of their army, to replace daily losses.
I have the honor to be, your obedient servant.
N. P. BANKS,
BALTIMORE, MD., September 21, 1862.
A large amount of stores is now in cars at Monocacy. The force at that point and at Frederick is not sufficient for their protection. There are about 200 cars now to be unloaded at Frederick. No artillery at either point. If Harper's Ferry is in possession of the enemy the supplies are in danger. I have suggested to Mr. Garrett the propriety of running back some of the cars until quartermaster's department is ready to unload them. General Wool will send two pieces of artillery to Monocacy. He has one regiment of raw troops at that point, and no other troops that he can send, having sent to General McClellan all that can be spared. I will see you to-morrow and report personally.