made, then you may depend upon it that it will be not only a free State, but a bitter abolition one. The very fact of separation will make them bitterly hostile to Virginia and all her institutions, and will carry abolitionism up to the very valley of Virginia. Border quarrels will always occur and reprisals will be made. That will lead to hostile incursions, and that to a border warfare, so that war in fact will exist, through no war be declared.
I could fill a quire of paper with reasons why that country ought not to be allowed to slough off, and while we are engaged in war I think that our true policy would be to hold it, even if in doing so we shall be compelled to stain every square foot of its soil with human blood.
Yours, &c., very respectfully,
HENRY J. FISHER.
EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT, October 26, 1861.
This letter is from a gentleman of great reliability and intelligence, and contains many suggestions, some of which I regard as worthy of consideration. It is therefore respectfully referred to the honorable Secretary of War.
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF KANAWHA,
Camp Dickerson, October 23, 1861.
His Excellency the SECRETARY OF WAR:
SIR: In pursuance of the plan detailed in my late dispatches, I have arrived at a point on the left bank of the Kanawha 5 miles below Fayette Court-House; occupied a strategical point famous for its strength named Cotton Hill, and hold the ferries which lead from it to the other side of the river. I have with me, when all my troops shall have come into camp, some 4,000 men. The enemy occupy the right bank of the river, immediately opposite, with a large force-not less, I have reason to believe, than 13,000 men. Their whole camp is in full view, and we have daily skirmishes. When I arrived in the neighborhood they had 2,000 men on this side, and had made known their intention to occupy and fortify Cotton Hill, which they declared capable of defense, if fortified, against 100,000 men; but on my advance they retreated with precipitation to the other bank. Their present position in admirably selected. It is nothing less then the key to the northwest and the Kanawha Valley. The powerful army which they have assembled there and the fortifications which they have erected around evince their determination to hold it permanently, and I have received some information, though no certain, of re-enforcements on the way to it from the State of Ohio. In this position-the fork of the Guale and New River-they command the Kanawha River, by which steamboats laden with supplies come within 6 miles of their headquarters, as I witnessed to-day with my own eyes. They command, also, the road to Clarksburg and the northwest, which they have put in perfect order by employing on them the labor of all their prisoners and all the secessionists in the country ready to strike Lewisburg whenever the Confederate force at Sewell Mountain and Meadow Bluff is removed. To keep their position is clearly their most important object and purpose in Western Virginia. To dislodge them is equally important to us. I have reconnoi- .