Assure the General that no prospect of a brilliant victory shall induce me to depart from my intention of gaining success by maneuvering rather than by fighting. I will not throw these raw men of mine into the teeth of artillery and entrenchments if it is possible to avoid it. Say to the General, too, that I am trying to follow a lesson long ago learned from him; i. e., not to move until I know that everything is ready, and then to move with the utmost rapidity and energy. The delays that I have met with have been irksome to me in the extreme, but I felt that it would be exceedingly foolish to give way to impatience, and advance before everything was prepared. I think the troops are improving decidedly in their performance of guard and outpost duty, and that we are losing nothing in efficiency by the halt at this place.
From all that I learn the enemy is still uncertain as to where the main attack is to be made, and is committing the error of dividing his army in the face of superior forces. If he abandons the position on Laurel Mountain, the troops at Phillippi will press him closely. I shall know to-night with certainty what the has in the pass at Huttonsville. I am told that the has moved all his troops thence towards Beverly. By our present positions we have cut off all his supplies of provisions from this region, so that the must depend almost entirely upon Staunton-a long haul, over a rough mountain road.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
GEO. B. McCELLAN,
Major-General, U. S. Army, Commanding Department.
BUCKHANNON, VA., July 6, 1861.
Colonel E. D. TOWNSEND:
A well-concerted movement to catch O. J. Wise, with his eight hundred men, at ripley, on the 4th, failed in consequence of the rapidity with which the rebels fled at the first notice of the approach of danger.
GEO. B. McCLELLAN,
Numbers 2. Reports of Major General B. McClellan, U. S. A., of operations from July 6 to 15.
BUCKHANNON, July , 1861.
Lieutenant Colonel E. D. TOWNSEND:
Have directed movement in force up the Great Kanawha, and other movements of troops covering nearly the whole of Western Virginia. My advance guard goes at 4 in the morning to occupy the Middle Fork Bridge. By the 8th or 9th at latest I expect to occupy Beverly, fighting a battle in the mean while. I propose to drive the enemy over the mountains towards Staunton, and expect you further orders by telegraph whether to move on Staunton on the south or towards Wytheville.
GEO. B. McCLELLAN,