policy of moving on the Lower Kanawha is now defeated, and my confident opinion is that a retreat ought to be ordered to Meadow Bluff, or you will be compelled to move backward towards Lewisburg, and the foe in your front will be thereby given the opportunity to advance on your rear. This all may seem too critical to me, but I nevertheless submit it to you, and ask you to relieve me. In order that you may judge the better, I send you copies of our entire correspondence. At 12 o'clock last night I received General Floyd's last note, peremptorily ordering my whole force to Carnifix, and, marching this morning at 11 a. m., I received a verbal message from him ordering me to fall back, he getting to this point before I did, without having lost a man, and without leaving a guard at the ferry behind him. This makes further retreat eastward inevitable and the necessity for it early and urgent. I fear your reply will be too late.
With the highest respect and esteem, I am, sir, your obedient servant,
HENRY A. WISE,
General R. E. LEE, Commanding, &c.
RICHMOND, VA., October 26, 1861.
SIR: On the 28th ultimo I arrived at Richmond in obedience to an order of the President through the Secretary of War, which order I obeyed to the letter, and without any delay, from Camp Defiance, on Big Sewell, to this city, reported myself at the War Department. I was called from the field of action most unexpectedly, and had to reach Richmond before I could learn the cause of my recall and of the transfer of my command.
The day after my arrival here I was stricken down with severe illness, caused by actual and severe exposure in the service. On the 2nd instant I was furnished with a copy of the report of General Floyd, "relative to the battle therein named," which was transmitted to me by direction of the Secretary of War, and from that time to this I have been unable to prepare any reply to that report. Regarding it now as the only matter or thing which I am called upon the answer, I proceed in the most succinct manner to notice its statements of complaint against me and my command.
I am now unable to prepare a reply in detail, and am therefore compelled to furnish the President, through the Department of War, the entire body of my correspondence with Generals Lee and Floyd.*
General Floyd's report to the Secretary of war of September 12 says [Numbers 15]: "My orders to General Wise I send you copies of, and also copies of his replies." I have ot been furnished with the copies which he says he sent, but the President and the Department can now judge whether he sent copies of all the originals. I now send copies of all my correspondence with both Generals Lee and Floyd.
However, before I proceed to answer this special report, I beg leave to make few preliminary observations. It will be remembered that General Floyd was commissioned prior to the date of my commission, and thus became my senior in rank. Thus, too, he began, weeks before I was commissioned, to raise his command in the southwest. I never contemplated originally the command of a brigade department, but had
*No enclosures found with this report; but the communications referred to by General Wise appear entire in the "Reports" on in the "Correspondence, etc.," post..