This was a heavy disappointment to him; but, nothing daunted, he began at once to provide for the possible contingency of being compelled, by the greatly superior force of the enemy, to retire behind the Rappahannock
He sent one of his engineers to the crossings of that river, with orders to throw up such fieldworks as would command them.
had returned deeply impressed by the views and ideas of the Richmond
authorities, particularly by those of General Lee
—to wit, that the army should fall back behind the Rappahannock
; and, not wishing to move, himself, in the matter, endeavored to persuade Adjutant-General Jordan
to urge the point upon General Beauregard
; which, however, the former positively declined to do.
The extension of McDowell
's pickets had now interrupted our ‘underground mail,’ between Washington
; but it had fortunately happened, a few days before, that a gentleman, Mr.
D——, formerly a clerk in one of the departments at Washington
, was introduced at headquarters by Colonel Chestnut
as perfectly trustworthy, and capable of performing the delicate office of communicating with the friendly agencies we had managed to establish in Washington
He was provided with a paper, having neither signature nor address, but upon which was written the ciphered message, ‘Trust the bearer
,’ and with it immediately despatched to the residence of Mrs.
G——, our secret emissary in the Federal
The result was that, at about 8 o'clock P. M., on the 16th, a sealed communication was received at headquarters, despatched by relays from General Holmes
's picket line, near Eastport
It had been brought that morning from Washington
, to a point on the opposite shore, by Mr.
D——, from Mrs.
G——, and announced, in cipher, this simple but important piece of news: ‘McDowell
has been ordered to advance to-night;’ confirming General Beauregard
's belief as to the intended Federal movement, which was otherwise apparent to him.
was at once informed of the impending event, and directed to execute his retreat on the appearance of the enemy in force, as prescribed by the order of the 20th of June, unchanged, though issued nearly a month previously.
, at Fairfax Station, received like instructions through General Ewell
, his brigade commander; and, in view of the exigency, Colonel J. L. Kemper
, whose energy and efficiency had already been