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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 854 OPERATIONS IN MD., N. VA., AND W. VA. Chapter XIV.


Numbers 46.] HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE KANAWHA, Camp at Meadow Bluff, Va., September 18, 1861.

Brigadier General HENRY A. WISE:

SIR: I am instructed by General Floyd to inquire of you why his order of the 16th instant, "to fall back to the most defensible point between Meadow Bluff and Lewisburg," has not been carried out.

By order of Brigadier General John B. Floyd:

WILLIAM E. PETERS,

Assistant Adjutant-General, Floyd's Brigade.

[Memorandum on Numbers 46.]

BIG SEWELL, VA., September 18, 1861.

On the evening of the 16th instant I received a notice from General Floyd that he wanted a conference of officers, and a request to take to his headquarters such officers of my command as could attend. As early as practicable (abut 5 p. m.) I went, accompanied by Major Tyler, Captain Stanard, Captain Wise, and Colonel Jackson. The interview lasted from one to two hours. The general wished counsel as to what movements were best. I urged that his camp on he top of the Big Sewell was indefensible, and that a position I had taken 1 1\2 miles in his rear was almost impregnable, if well defended by a small force; that we ought to occupy that position y my Legion, and he ought ot take ground with his own command on the left, to defend Bowyer's Ferry and the old State road; that these positions would support each other easily against largely superior numbers; that Colonel Davis, with my cavalry, had just won a victory within 12 miles of Charleston, and ought to be supported by infantry; and that, if he would permit me, I would take a picked corps from my command and one from his, a regiment or battalion or less, from each, and follow an active movement down the left bank of the Kanawha. He said he liked the idea, and as first assented. I told him that upon his retreat form Dogwood I had ordered my cavalry to fall back to support him on this turnpike, and asked whether I might countermand that order and renew the one to descend the Kanawha Valley. Again he assented. I wrote the order, and sent it from his camp to Colonel Davis, at Raleigh Court-House or Jumping Branch. After having read it to General Floyd, and after his approval, I then urged again that he would fall back to my position and await the enemy. He then said that he would view the position the next morning, and if he found it strong would wait there for several days at least, until e could hear form Richmond. This I considered the concluded arrangement of our movements when I left him. He inquired whether I knew of any movement by General Lee. I told him the state of the roads was so bad that General Lee could not move from his position. Other subjects were mentioned, such as mustering in the pack company from Mercer into my Legion, as it was raised for it. He promptly replied that the men should be allowed to elect their own command, and choose the Legion or not, and be mustered i accordingly; and also that Captain Newman's company, if it so elected, might be transferred to the Legion from the State volunteers. After this and other conversation I left.

On returning, Major Tyler remarked the preparations for a movement in General Floyd's camp, and it was thought that a retreat was intended before I was called to confederate. We had hardly ridden to


Page 854 OPERATIONS IN MD., N. VA., AND W. VA. Chapter XIV.
OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, vol 5, Part 1 (West Virginia)
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