Numbers 31.] NEAR HAWK'S NEST, VA., September 6, 1861.
Brigadier General JOHN B. FLOYD, Commanding, &c.:
GENERAL: Last night and this morning my scouts report lights appearing and disappearing, as if shed from dark lanterns, all along the ridges north of my lines, and also blue lights, evidently signaling with those on the side from the Cotton Hill. They have beaten innumerable and indescribable paths in every direction from Shade Creek, just this side of Piggot's Mill, with a view to fall on my rear, and this compels me to extend my posts beyond my effective strength, covering from Dogwood Gap to the Hawk's Nest now, in order to guard my own rear and the approach to Carnifix Ferry. The enemy came up in large re-enforcements the other day from Gauley, with several additional pieces of artillery, and are now at least 1,800 strong. My whole available force here, of all arms, is not over 1,200 men, 300 of whom are cavalry, and not effective, at this point. We are obliged to leave two pieces of artillery at Dogwood, and require at least six pieces here, and we have but three. I beg you to return to me my corps of artillery, with their three pieces, and to re-enforce me with Colonel Tompkins' regiment, less, I believe, than 400 men. I ask this the more unhesitatingly as the Georgia and North Carolina regiments (two full ones) are on the march to you, and will be with you in a few days. And here permit me to add that, by strengthening me here, I can move so as to make your approach down the Gauley towards the enemy perfectly easy. On the 3rd instant (when the double attack here and on Cotton Hill was made) he drew a large portion of his forces from the brigade. I think they will attack me to-night or to-morrow, before they return. I have concerted signals to-day with Generals Chapman and Beckley. Captain Fitzhugh has just left me, on the rumor is we have got the cover of Montgomery's Ferry. I will defend Miller's to the last, and can do it certainly if re-enforced. You can draw the enemy back to the bridge if you will move to the mouth of Rich Creek.
HENRY A. WISE,
CAMP GAULEY, VA., September 6, 1861.
Brigadier General HENRY A. WISE:
SIR: I send over this morning, at your request, the Twenty-second Regiment (Colonel Tompkins'), and also that section of your battery heretofore sent me under command of Lieutenant Hart. You will take care not to make any movement which will require the presence for any length of time over a very few days of more troops than your own Legion. I cannot spare any men from this column, and it is very probable your command will be necessarily moved on this line. This will only be done in case of absolute necessity. In the mean time you will with all convenient dispatch send two pieces of artillery across the river to General Chapman, to accompany his column on its march down the left bank of Kanawha. Beyond holding your position at Hawk's Nest, or thereabouts, so as to secure the communication you had already established across the New River by the ferries, you had better not attempt anything beyond annoyance against the enemy. That is not the direction from which he can be most successfully attacked. Colonel