their assault. I learn that some silly reports are in circulation among the teamsters and camp followers, to the effect that I am in danger of being surrounded and cut up. I hope you will take pains to have this silly and abused notion exploded, if, indeed, it has made any progress on that side of the river. Such an idea, however absurd, might have a tendency to demoralize the troops. May I ask you to send over the mail, with all dispatches. I have ordered a strong scouting party of my cavalry, still on the left bank of the river, to proceed to Gauley Mountain, and ascertain the position of the enemy, if indeed he is still on that side. I shall be able to cross with the artillery to-morrow.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
JOHN B. FLOYD,
Brigadier-General, Commanding the Army of the Kanawha.
CAMP AT DOGWOOD GAP, NEAR SUNDAY ROAD,
August 24, 1861-8.30 p. m.
Brigadier General JOHN B. FLOYD, Commanding, &c.:
SIR: Your messenger met me within the hour, returning from a personal view of the enemy. I could get no reliable information from scouts or citizens, and determined to go in person to the Gauley Mountain and see their camp for myself. I passed our camping ground and rose the gorge on the other side of Liken's Mill, guided by Westlake. He supposed they were encamped in and about a school-house on the hill. I got to the turn of the ascent with a small detachment of cavalry and halted; dismounted, with Colonel Davis and Adjutant Tabb, and went directly up the hill into their camp of the night before, at the school-house. At first it appeared as if evacuated, but going farther and observing ahead more closely, we discovered the smoke of their camp beyond, about 400 yards distant. We returned a short distance to a mound, which failed to command a view, and I then sent Colonel Davis and Adjutant Tabb back, who got a pretty close sight of their sentinels. The camp could not be seen fairly without exposing our party, by the immediate neighbors reported them to be about 700 strong, though but two companies had occupied the school-house last evening. Mrs. Wood, Westlake's daughter, and an intelligent servant, it is said, escaped from their camp last evening, and report that they have moved over to Rich Creek. The latter is the only indication of an intent to attack you. To watch that movement I detailed the returning scouts from Captain Tyree's company, as it passed here to-day. I also detailed Captain Bailey and some 20 men and scouts to cross Bowyer's Ferry and scout that and Miller's Ferry to Fayetteville turnpike down to Mongomery's Ferry, and to report upon the practicability of mounting a 6-pounder on the cliffs on the south side of New River, to give a plunging shot into their camp and barricades at Gauley; and, finally, to descend into their rear on the south side of the valley of the Kanawha, by the Loop, or Paint Creek, or Coal River. This to divert them from an attack upon you. I trust you will approve these orders. I have ordered all my available and shod cavalry to guard as low down as Liken's Mill, and shall move a battalion of infantry to the same point, and gradually step up to towards the enemy. To-morrow I will ordered a daring scout of the Rich Creek road. Colonel Tompkins must before this have reached Carnifix with two regiments, less than 800 men. They have been reduced less than one-half by desertion and