To John C. Fremont

War Department                Washington City, D.C.
Major General Fremont
Franklin.                               May 24th. 1862

You are authorized to purchase the four hundred horses or take them wherever and however you can get them.

The exposed condition of General Banks makes his immediate relief a point of paramount importance. You are therefore directed by the President to move against Jackson at Harrisonberg and operate against the enemy in such way as to relieve Banks. This movement must be made immediately. You will acknowledge the receipt of this order and specify the hour it is received by you.


Fremont’s telegram to Stanton, received at 2:30 P.M., May 24, 1862, reads in part as follows: “General Banks informs me this morning of an attack by enemy. This is probably by [Thomas J. “Stonewall”] Jackson. . . . [Richard S.] Ewell’s force with him. General Banks says he should be re-enforced immediately. My own movements are being directed to the object proposed in plan approved, and in connection to the speediest possible support of General [J.D.] Cox. . . . Under the circumstances my force cannot be divided, and if I abandon this line and move eastward to the support of General Banks this whole country to the Ohio would be thrown open, and General [J.D.] Cox also immediately exposed to disaster. . . . May I ask if you will support him?. . . Needing much the use of my cavalry. I telegraph to General Meigs asking that he authorize the. . . purchase immediately, wherever they can be had, 400 horses. Will you approve the requisition?”


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