War of the Rebellion: Serial 040 Page 0412 N. VA., W. VA., MD., AND PA. Chapter XXXVII.

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BANKS' FORD, VA., May 4, 1863 - 11.50 p. m.

(Received May 5 - 1 a. m.)

General HOOKER, United States Ford:

My army is hemmed in upon the slope, covered by the guns from the north side of Banks' Ford. If I had only this army to care for, I would withdraw it to-night. Do you operations require that I should jeopard it by retaining it here? An immediate reply is indispensable, or I may feel obliged to withdraw.

JOHN SEDGWICK,

Major-General.

MAY 4, 1863 - 9.40 a. m.

Major-General HOOKER:

Following from Gibbon:

One brigade of division in town, the other and batteries this side at bridges. If Sedgwick had gone forward, of course I shall take up bridges, if forced out of town, and if he has gone away, I had better withdraw at once and take up bridges.

My reply:

Hold on to the last extremity, until further orders. Sedgwick holds same position as he did.

No information yet received shows more than a division in front of Fredericksburg. Should Sedgwick throw himself rapidly and boldly on their flank, he would capture or destroy them, if circumstances of your movements and position and presence of enemy on his front and left permit.

DANL. BUTTERFIELD,

Major-General, Chief of Staff.

(Copy to General Sedgwick.)

CAMP NEAR FALMOUTH, VA.,

May 4, 1863 - 10.27 a. m.

General GIBBON:

You perhaps had better take up your lower bridge and get boats out of water, and hold engineer force ready to work on others. Use your discretion.

DANL. BUTTERFIELD,

Major-General, Chief of Staff.

MAY 4, 1863 - 10.35 a. m.

Major-General BUTTERFIELD, Chief of Staff:

The general says that Gibbon's command is to remain where it is. The bridges, of course, are to remain. It would seem from your dispatch that Gibbon and the enemy are retreating from each other.

J. H. VAN ALEN,

Brigadier-General and Aide-de-Camp.

CAMP NEAR FALMOUTH, VA., May 4, 1863.

General GIBBON:

Make your dispositions so that no confusion or panic ensues. Three regiments of enemy kept Sedgwick out of town for several hours. You