back from the valley of the Kanawha, under orders from Adjutant and Inspector General S. Cooper, and from General Robert E. Lee, commanding forces in the State of Virginia. This has prevented the assembling even of my command up to this time. Now, while organizing my artillery and infantry corps, the cavalry of my command are on active duty in checking the enemy and observing their movements on the New River and on the Gauley. Another cause (obstructing returns) is that a considerable portion of the State volunteers considered that they had engaged to serve the time of their enlistment in the valley of the Kanawha alone and on the march from that valley, under orders to defend the Central Railroad, many of them have deserted, and several leading officers of their command have resigned their commissions, after having given furloughs to some of their men, who are now daily returning from their homes to duty. How many will return cannot be ascertained for several days. Connected with the march from the valley thus embarrassed, several serious cases of arrest have occurred, and courts-martial are now sitting and ordered for their trial. More than all, the state and condition of my troops here caused the difficulty and delay of organization, and will cause the delay of my movement for some reasonable time, for refitting, recruiting, and procuring sufficient arms. My men have not been supplied at any time with half sufficient clothing, camp equipage, arms, or ammunition, and many of teem not at all with their tents. Many of them are now destitute of blankets, shoes, tents, and clothing, knapsacks, cartridge and cap boxes, mess-pans, and camp-kettles, and have not half enough of wagons for transportation. My sick list in hospital is upward of 300, and we need medical stores of every kind. I have made large requisitions on the Department, and have sent special agents to Richmond to procure these and all other necessaries.
This will require, for indispensable supplies, at least ten days or two weeks to come. By to-morrow I hope to have consolidated reports, as exact as possible, of my whole force here. They will show the number of men; the different arms to which they are attached; the few arms fit for use; the amount of ammunition, and the want of transportation and supplies. I should mention that at no time as yet have I been furnished with a separate commissary and quartermaster. One officer has had to perform the duties of both departments, and the person nominated for quartermaster is now gone to Richmond to give bonds and obtain necessary orders, devolving the duties of both officers still on my commissary alone.
You shall have, as you request, a detailed answer to your inquiries very soon as to the artillery and infantry of my Legion, and somewhat later a detail of my cavalry and of the State volunteers under my command.
I respectfully suggest that I be allowed ample time for the best preparation I can make, under general orders, which I have received from General R. E. Lee, commanding, & c., and then I will cheerfully co-operate with you, sir, in checking the advance of the enemy. In the short interview I had with you the other evening, I informed you I had no special orders from General Robert E. Lee, but the next morning (yesterday) started to exhibit to you my general orders, received from General Robert E. Lee since I left Lewisburg. They are to check the enemy on both roads to Covington and Newbern, and prevent, if possible, his progress east of the mountains, and to halt at Lewisburg till further notice. If obliged to retire, to retard the advance of the enemy, and to send back to General Floyd to support me; to inform General Loring of the positions I will take, and be prepared, by a concentration of forces, to strike a blow at the enemy.