HDQRS. DEPT. OF W. VIRGINIA AND E. TENNESSEE,
Abingdon, Va., July 6, 1864.
General R. E. LEE,
Scouts report Hunter, Crook, and Averell on Kanawha below Charleston. They think this force will be moved to re-enforce Sherman or Grant.
J. H. MORGAN,
ADJT. AND INSP. GENERAL'S OFFICE, Numbers 157.
Richmond, July 6, 1864.
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IX. Brigadier General R. E. Colston, Provisional Army, C. S., will relieve Brigadier General F. T. Nicholls, commandant of post, Lynchburg, Va.
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By command of the Secretary of War:
SAML. W. MELTON,
PETERSBURG, July 7, 1864.
His Excellency JEFFERSON DAVIS,
President Confederate States:
Mr. PRESIDENT: Lieutenant Albergetts, commanding scouts at Roland's Mill, on river road, and north of Harrison's Point, reports that during forepart of yesterday six transports passed down James River, carrying troops with arms. During the day a number of transports with a few troops and stores passed up the river. During the latter part of yesterday six more transports passed down the river loaded with troops. At dark three transports were at Jordan's Point taking on troops, and the wharf was apparently crowded with troops awaiting transportation. As the troops passed Harrison's Landing they cheered heartily. Coupling this report with the statement of the New York Herald of the 4th, that at daybreak on the 3rd it was reported at Martinsburg that a body of our troops were approaching that place, and that after some fighting at Bunker Hill General [Sigel] evacuated M. and fell back to Harper's Ferry, I fear the troops reported to have descended the James River are on the way to Washington. I have inquired whether Lieutenant A. saw himself what he reported, how near he was to the river, and whether he was certain that the troops were armed.
It is not known yet whether any troops have been withdrawn from the front of Petersburg, but a corps on their left, especially if held in reserve, might have been taken during the night of the 4th without being discovered. The Herald also states that Hunter with Crook and Averell are in the vicinity of Charleston, on the Kanawha, which is confirmed by a dispatch from General Morgan. It is so repugnant to Grant's principles and practice to send troops from him, that I had hoped before resorting to it he would have preferred attacking me. It is possible that some of these men may belong to the regiments to be discharged, of which sixty-eight regiments go out this month. I do not know how many belong to Grant's army, but I believe all from Maine, Massachusetts, Vermont, Connecticut,
38 R R--VOL XXXVII, PT II