To George A. McCall

Washington, May 31, 1862—3.35.

Brigadier-General McCall, Commanding, Fredericksburg:

Are you about to withdraw from Fredericksburg; and, if so, why, and by whose orders? A. LINCOLN.

McCall replied as follows: “Despatch received I am not about to withdraw from Fredericksburg but I have received the following orders from Genl McDowell

‘Draw in your force moving them on the left bank of the River—holding yourself on the defensive Keeping Fredericksburg Guard the bridges to Aquia Creek by completing the Block Houses near them’

“I have in obedience to these orders withdrawn all my forces except a sufficient guard for the city police and the out pickets from the right bank of the River and have made such disposition of my command as seems to me best calculated to resist an attack from any quarter I have no idea of withdrawing from this position without orders I have scouts out in the direction of Spotsylvania Court House and the forks of the Rappahannock and will report the result of their observations on their return” . To this Stanton replied that “The President directs me to say to you that there can be nothing to justify a panic at Fredericksburg. He expects you to maintain your position there as becomes a soldier and a general.”

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