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The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies

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OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, vol 5, Part 1 (West Virginia)
Page 843 Chapter XIV. CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.-CONFEDERATE.

reached, if not crossed, Carnifix Ferry yesterday. It will certainly be there this morning, and I prepared dispatches, setting forth the reasons for not sending one of my regiments as ordered. At 2 and 2.30 o'clock las night I received another order, simply to station my regiment at Dogwood Gap, in supporting distance of your forces, and another order to send at once 1,000 of my own men (in addition ot the regiment of Colonel Tompkins), with one of my batteries. The messenger who brought the last dispatch said he was instructed (verbally) to say that at 5 p. m. yesterday it was supposed that 4,000 or 5,000 of the enemy had advanced to the foot of Powell's Mountain and on this side of the mountain and 4 or 5 miles north of Summersville, and that 2,500 of the enemy, about 50 miles distant, were supposed to be advancing upon you from Webster.

In addition to this, I inform you that the enemy at Gauley Bridge has advanced 1,000 men up the Gauley, and every indication shows that they intend to advance about 2,500 men up this turnpike and the Saturday road to the rear of your position at Carnifix Ferry. If all these appearances are correct, you will be threatened from three or four points-front, flank, and rear-by not less than 8,000 or 10,000 men, and a disaster will be the loss of this turnpike and of Lewisburg, at least.

The only check upon the enemy's advance upon Carnifix, upon this side of Gauley, is the force under my command. I now have thirty companies of infantry, six of which are at Dogwood Gap, and twenty-four companies here, averaging, reduced ad they are by measles, not more than 40 men each, making in all 1,200 effective infantry (960 here and 240 at Dogwood Gap). My artillery, numbering in all about 314 men, is reduced by the same over New River to Loop Creek and Coal River, there to do more effective duty than they can do here, and to get corn and oats, having been starved here for want of grain. To re-enforce you with 1,000 men and one of my batteries would leave me with only 200 infantry, 100 artillery, and about 120 horse, to meet a force of 2,500. This would render my command wholly inadequate and unsafe. If, then, I am to send 1,000 infantry and about 120 horse, to meet a force of 2,500. This would render my command wholly inadequate and unsafe. If, then, I am to send 1,000 infantry and a battery, I had better take my whole force, strengthen you the more thereby, and leave none exposed. In either event all the positions for checking the enemy on this turnpike will have to be abandoned (none of them can be held), and we will lose Liken's Mill and Miller's Ferry.

If I am not to cross Carnifix Ferry, it is best ot check the enemy before reaching there, and not at the cliffs of Gauley. If I am to cross that ferry, then there will be no force to guard it and your rear. If the enemy advance upon you from the other side of Gauley with 4,000 men, and besiege you in front, while 2,000 of them are allowed to reach Carnifix and command the ferry in your rear on this side, you will be cut off at once from all supplies of food, forage, and ammunition. On this side or the other, then, my command must be endangered at Carnifix (the ferry thee is wholly insufficient for your present forces, and would be hardly better than none in case of a retreat in presence of the foe). In any view, then, I submitted that the best position to support you at present is to leave my whole command posted on this road. We now can hardly check the enemy or repel him in time for you to recross the Gauley and unite our forces on this side. A few men can on this side, with this turnpike and the roads leading from it to Carnifix guarded, defend that ferry. On the other side our united forces may easily be cut off and starved out by such advance of the enemy as seems to threaten your present posi-


Page 843 Chapter XIV. CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.-CONFEDERATE.
OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, vol 5, Part 1 (West Virginia)
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