pickets at night, and at daylight next morning engage him heavily with skirmishers, occupying him during the entire day; and that on that night I move by the Warrenton road by Hankinson's Ferry; to which point you should previously send a brigade of cavalry, with two field-batteries, to build a bridge there and hold that ferry; also Hall's and Baldwin's, to cover my crossing at Hankinson's. I shall not be able to move with my artillery and wagons. I suggest this as the best plan, because all the other roads are too strongly intrenched, and the enemy in too heavy force for reasonable prospect of success, unless you move in sufficient force to compel him to abandon his communication with Snyder's Mill, which I still hope we may be able to do....Captain Saunders, who brought the dispatch, told me that he was directed to say, from Lieutenant-General Pemberton, that I ought to attempt nothing with less than forty thousand men. This dispatch was answered on the 22d: “General Taylor is sent by General E. K. Smith to cooperate with you from the west bank of the river, to throw in supplies, and to cross with his forces if expedient and practicable. I will have the means of moving toward the enemy in a day or two, and will try to make a diversion in your favor; and, if possible, communicate with you, though I fear my force is too small to effect the latter. I have only two-thirds of the force you told Captain Saunders to tell me is the least with which I ought to make an attempt. If I can do nothing to relieve you, rather than surrender the garrison, endeavor to cross the river at the last moment, if you and General Taylor communicate.”
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