and making of it a place of detention for the secessionists whom they have arrested in the country occupied by their troops, and whom hitherto they have been sending to Ohio. It is my belief that as long as they can be made to apprehend any danger to their possession of the railroad and country in front of me they will not attempt any inroads in the Kanawha Valley, as the movement above reported indicates, and that one of the most effectual means of keeping that valley free of them is to occupy them fully here. I moreover think that if General Wise's column should move from Charleston direct upon Parkersburg, by the road through Jackson, Wirt, and Wood Counties, it would have the effect, not of withdrawing any troops from my front, but of bringing others into Virginia from Ohio and the West, as it could be done with equal facility and rapidity, and greater safety. But if he were to retrace his steps from Charlestown to Summersville, in Nicholas County, and thence go to Bulltown, in Braxton, both of which counties are loyal to our cause, he would be within a day's of Weston, and threaten both it and Buchannon, and the enemy would have to draw from his force in my front to meet him. Communication with me could be had by way of huttonsville.
The valley of the Kanawha is comparatively loyal to our cause, and the force under General Floyd would be abundant to meet any force which it is probable the enemy will send into that region for the present.
The latest, and I believe the most accurate, information which i have yet received from the front is that the enemy has seven regiments of infantry at Philippi - say between five and six thousand men - and twenty pieces of artillery, two of which are mortars. I scarcely think they have as much artillery as that stated. At Grafton, a few days ago, there were only a few hundred; at Clarksburg they are represented as having about three thousand men; at Weston two thousand, and at Cheat River Bridge from two to three thousand. I cannot learn whether they have artillery at this bridge, or whether they are erecting any defenses about it. General McClellan, at last accounts, was at Grafton. General Morris in command at Philippi. Were these numbers correct it would put their force in Northwestern Virginia at about seventeen thousand men, though I hardly think it can amount to that number. The term of service of one of the Indiana regiments at Philippi expired a few days ago, and I learn that they are now kept there by force. I do not now think it probable that the enemy, notwithstanding his superiority of numbers, will attempt to attack my position unless the necessity for his force elsewhere becomes very imperative, for the simple reason that he has as much of northwestern country as he probably wants. He could have possessed himself of more of the country after Colonel Porterfield's retreat, if he had desired it, yet refrained from doing so. The onus is upon us to drive him out the country he already holds, if we can. It is impossible for me or any one else, in my judgment, to say what numbers (within our means) are necessary to effect this. The facilities, on the one hand, which they possess at present, of throwing men in my front from other States, and the numbers they have disposable for this purpose, with, on the other hand, the slow process to which we are subjected in re-enforcing our force, will always enable them to exceed our numbers, whatever they may be, to any degree they may deem necessary; for secrecy in the movements of my re-enforcements in this disaffected country is a thing impossible. If then becomes a question which must be decided by the authorities of the Government, whether the mere paralyzation of a superior force of the enemy, in my front, with the hope of seizing the railroad, if an opportunity should
16 R R - VOL II