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[19] Fredericksburg,1 in addition to the forces agreed upon for the occupation of that town. Later, on the 24th, the news from Banks became more alarming, and General McDowell was dispatched that “General Fremont had been ordered by telegraph to move from Franklin on Harrisonburg to relieve General Banks and capture or destroy Jackson's and Ewell's forces. You are instructed, laying aside for the present the movement on Richmond, to put 20,000 men in motion at once for the Shenandoah, moving on the line or in advance of the line of the Manassas Gap railroad. Your object will be to capture the forces of Jackson and Ewell, either in co-operation with General Fremont, or in case want of supplies or of transportation interferes with his movement, it is believed that the force with which you move will be sufficient to accomplish the object alone.” * * The following was sent to McClellan at 4 P. M. on May 24th: “In consequence of General Banks' critical position, I have been compelled to suspend General McDowell's movements to join you. The enemy are making a desperate push on Harper's Ferry, and we are trying to throw Fremont's force and part of McDowell's in their rear.” Signed, A. Lincoln.

Next day the news from Banks seem to have greatly increased the excitement in Washington. The following telegrams were sent to General McClellan, May 25th, by President Lincoln:

The enemy is moving north in sufficient force to drive Banks before him, in precisely what force we cannot tell. He is also threatening Leesburg and Geary, on the Manassas Gap railroad, from both north and south, in precisely what force we cannot tell. I think the movement is a general and concerted one, such as could not be if he was acting upon the purpose of a very desperate defence of Richmond. I think the time is near when you must either attack Richmond or give up the job and come to the defence of Washington. Let me hear from you instantly.

A later one reads--“Your dispatch received. Banks was at Strasburg with about six thousand men, Shields having been taken from him to swell a column for McDowell to aid you at Richmond, and the rest of his force scattered at various places. On the 23d a Rebel force of seven to ten thousand men fell upon one regiment and two companies guarding the bridge at Front Royal, destroying it entirely, crossed the Shenandoah, and on the 24th (yesterday) pushed to get north of Banks on the road to Winchester. Banks ran a race with them, beating them into Winchester yesterday evening. This morning a ”

1 See McDowell's testimony.

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