gratitude of the country. But that severe and hard-fought action General Banks himself was so badly injured as to be unfit for duty. Generals Augur, Geary, and Carroll had been badly wounded; nearly al of the field and company officers, particularly of the Massachusetts regiments, and been killed or wounded, and the corps was nearly destitute of officers.
After such service as they had rendered and the broken condition in which their gallant and heroic fighting had left them they should for a time have been withdrawn from the presence of the enemy until they could be rested and their officers replaced. I should have done so at once, but that it was impossible at that time to spare a man from the front. In the hurry and brevity of a telegraphic dispatch it was not possible to explain to you why this corps was real unfit for service. God forbid that I should be supposed, even by misconception of my dispatch to cast even the implication of reproach upon this gallant corps and its intrepid leader.
I trust you will make this letter public in justice to General Banks and his corps.
I am, general, respectfully, your obedient servant,
CONFEDERATE CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE NORTHWEST,
Camp Alleghany, March 18, 1862.
General R. E. Lee,
Commander-in-Chief, P. A. C. S., Richmond:
In reply to your communication received this day* I have the honor herewith to transmit a statement of the strength of this command and the positions occupied by the several detachments composing it.
The prospect of calling to my aid volunteers from the country in which I am operating is by no means flattering. The people of this country are many of them, if not disloyal, at least indifferent as to which cause triumphs, and are willing to range themselves on the stronger side.
The population is sparse,the country very mountainous.
The principal portion of my command is at this point, which ash been fortified and is defended by ten pieces of artillery. My position has been considerably strengthened since the battle for the 13th December.
I have a force at Huntersville to protect that line. It is weak, and the position you are well acquainted with. Another force at Crab Bottom, about 9 miles in my rear, ont he Parkersburg turnpike. This position is not at all fortified. The troops were ordered there by General Loring and hunted themselves in November last. This force is 6 miles from Monterey. A small cavalry force at Franklin, to scout in that direction and watch for any movement of the enemy from that direction; one or two companies of cavalry at Monterey, and one of Tennessee Cavalry at the Warm Springs. This last was ordered from Huntersville, it being difficult to procure forage at Huntersville for any but a small cavalry force.
The force for the enemy opposed to me I have reason to believe does