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

my regiment, would seriously endanger the entire command. Independent of any of these considerations I deem it proper to state that the advance of the season admonishes us of the rapid and near approach of winter. Two weeks from to-day the winter in these mountains may be said to have set in. As yet there is no preparation for the wintering of troops here; no huts or houses have been prepared, nor can any be found in this region already built. I have upon my own responsibility instituted inquiries for the tools necessary to enable my men to build for themselves if required, and to my surprise and alarm I find that we have not in this army enough tools of the most common kind to enable us to use the timber which is so abundant all around us. Already the weather has been such as to freeze the tents of my regiment solid after a soaking rain and to coat the water in vessels with thick ice, and I am satisfied that this is not more than what may be expected at this season in these mountains. If, as I have stated, it is the purpose to retain troops here for the winter, measures cannot be too promptly or energetically taken and pressed for putting them into habitable winter quarters. These facts and my impressions upon them I have felt bound to communicate as a part of my duty to the Government and to the regiment, composed of my neighbors and friends, which has been instructed to my care.

I hope I shall not be understood as disposed to avoid any fair share of the labors and sacrifices which must fall upon all engaged in our national defense. My men have made no complaint, but are looking forward with calm confidence in the provident care of the Government.

I trust their confidence will be fully justified in their future history.

Respectfully, your obedient servant,

JOHN B. BALDWIN,

Colonel Fifty-second Virginia Regiment.

HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF KANAWHA, Camp on New River, October 16, 1861.

His Excellency the SECRETARY OF WAR:

SIR: In a letter to the President, dated at Meadow Bluff,----, 1861, I gave some account of the positions then held by the confederate forces, and of my plans for the occupation of the left bank or souther moiety of the Kanawha Valley.

I preferred to make a stand at meadow bluff, because it was a stronger position than Sewell Mountain; because it was nearer the supplies; because it was less exposed to the weather; because there was more probability that the enemy would attack there than on Sewell, and because, should his attack fail, he would not be able to get away from the consequences of that failure. General Lee was constrained by circumstances to hold the ridge near the top of Sewell, and I followed him to that point with all my force. We remained eleven days, and those days cost us more men, sick and dead, than the battle of Manassas Plains. Provisions were hauled up the mountain 16 miles from Meadow Bluff over the worst road in Virginia, and we were exposed to tempests of wind and rain; for the conformation of the ground is such that there are always storms on Sewell Mountain. Finally the enemy retired beyond Gauley. The condition of the main body of our army was such that pursuit was impossible, and General Lee yet remains on Sewell. But he then assented to my plans for the expedition


Page 900 OPERATIONS IN MD., N. VA., AND W. VA. Chapter XIV.
OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, vol 5, Part 1 (West Virginia)
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