To Irvin McDowell

Washington City, D.C. May 24 1862 [8 P.M.]

Major General McDowell I am highly gratified by your alacrity in obeying my order. The change was as painful to me as it can possibly be to you or to any one. Every thing now dependes upon the celerity and vigor of your movement.

A. LINCOLN

McDowell’s reply, received at 9:30 P.M., reads in part as follows: “I obeyed your orders immediately. . . perhaps as a subordinate there I ought to stop; but. . . . I beg to say that co-operation between General Fremont and myself to cut Jackson and Ewell there is not to be counted upon, even if it is not a practical impossibility. Next, that I am entirely beyond helping distance of General Banks; no celerity or vigor will avail so far as he is concerned. . . . It will take a week or ten days for the force to get to the valley by the route which will give it food and forage, and by that time the enemy will have retired. I shall gain nothing for you there, and shall lose much for you here. . . . I have ordered General Shields to commence the movement by to-morrow morning. A second division will follow in the afternoon. Did I understand you aright, that you wished that I personally should accompany this expedition? I hope to see Governor Chase to-night and express myself more fully to him.”

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