CAMP OPPOSITE FREDERICKSBURG, April 30, 1862.
We arrived here yesterday afternoon, after a two-days' march from our last camp at Catlett's Station. We were very glad to receive our orders, because I began to fear we should be kept in the rear, repairing and guarding railroads. We had a pleasant march, over a pretty fair country, but pretty generally abandoned by its inhabitants, particularly the male portion. The last day (yesterday) we marched twenty-two miles, and our men came in good condition. Reynolds had preceded me, and Ord, I presume, will follow in a day or two. We are now encamped on the bank of the Rappahannock, directly opposite the town of Fredericksburg. We are some twenty thousand strong, but as yet no one has crossed the river, except some flags of truce, holding intercourse with the municipal authorities. We have a pontoon train, and could throw a bridge over in a few hours, but it is rumored McDowell's orders are not to cross, for what reason is not known. To-be-sure, the railroad from Acquia Creek is not yet rebuilt to this place, and we have to haul our supplies some eight miles in wagons, and it may be that it is not deemed worth while to move forward until the road is repaired and we can communicate freely with our rear. We have received the news of the fall of New Orleans, which caused much rejoicing, and of the death of General Smith, which was received with deep regret by all those who knew him.
McDowell has his headquarters back at Acquia Creek Station. He was in camp to-day with Lord George Paulet, commander of the English forces at Montreal, and did me the honor to call at my quarters and introduce his lordship, which was not necessary, however, as I had met him in 1842 in Quebec, when I was there with Graham and Schroeder.
The people that are living around here are all pretty strongly tinctured with "Secesh." The men are away, and the women are as rude as their fears will permit them to be.
Dr. Meredith Clymer has joined our division, with the expectation of being medical director, and being at Division Headquarters, but as he is junior to Stocker, the arrangement cannot very well be made, and I expect Stocker will go to McCall and Clymer come to me.
SOURCE: George Meade, The Life and Letters of George Gordon Meade, Vol. 1, p. 262-3