HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE OHIO,
Buckhannon, Va., July 5, 1861.
Colonel E. D. TOWNSEND, Assistant Adjutant-General:
COLONEL: You will probably feel as much regret as I do in finding that I am still
here. The cause is the difficulty of getting up supplies and arranging transportation.
I hope that to-day's arrivals will enable me to move in the morning. While
waiting here I have endeavored to employ out time to advantage.
You will observe that this is the important strategical position in this region.
From it I can cover our base of operations and supplies, and move readily by
good roads in any desired direction. I have directed the position on Cheat
river at Grafton, Webster, Clarksburg, and Parkersburg to be intrenched, that
the necessary garrisons may be reduced as much as possible. The bridges, tunnels, &c.,
on the two branches of the railroad are now well guarded. The Cheat River,
covering the left of our base, is guarded by eleven companies; Grafton, by
a regiment; Clarksburg, some eight companies, besides virginia recruits; Parkersburg,
six companies, two regiments of Indiana troops to arrive there to-day, and
to be disposable as a reserve where needed. Two other Indiana three years'
regiments are en route to Bellaire, to be sent wherever needed. Six companies
occupy Wirt County Court-House, where Union men have suffered much. Four companies
at Ravenswood repulsed O. J. Wise night before last. I hope that the determined
to renew the attempt, as in that case he will have been cut off by a column
of twelve hundred men under Colonel Norton, that were to reach Ripley from
Letart's at 2 p. m. yesterday. I shall not be surprised to learn before this
letter is close that he is captured. In consequence of the threatening aspect
of affairs in the Great Kanawha Valley I have ordered four regiments there,
as explained in my instructions to General J. D. Cox, a copy of which has been
forwarded to you.
Of the troops composing the active army fifty-one companies and one battery are at Philippi, amusing the enemy, who is strongly intrenched with artillery on the Laurel Mountain between that place and Beverly. I have with me here six entire regiments of infantry, six detached companies, two batteries, two companies of cavalry; two more regiments, and some five or six detached companies of infantry will reach here by since, and four companies of the Seventeenth reached Glenville from Parkersburg yesterday. I ordered strong detachments from these commands to move last night on Bulltown, and break up a large force of armed rebels congregating there. I can, if necessary, have them all back with me by to-morrow night.
I have sent out frequent small parties to break up the collections of rebels. We have them pretty well under now. One of our parties of forty last night broke up two hundred. The morale of our men is excellent-could not be better. It is difficult to get perfectly accurate information, but we are improving in that respect every day. The feeling of the people here is most excellent. We are welcomed wherever our men go. It is wonderful to see how rapidly the minds of many of these people become enlightened when they find we can protect them.
Fear and ignorance combined have made most of the converts to secession; the reverse process in now going on with great rapidity. I expect to find the enemy in position on Rich Mountain, just this side of Beverly. I shall, if possible, turn the position to the south, and thus occupy the Beverly road in his rear. If possible I will repeat the maneuver of Cerro Gordo.