repeated feints and skirmishes, on the afternoon of Thursday the 11th, turning the flank of our position at Camp garnett - in large force. He succeeded, after a protracted and, on our side, a desperate struggle, in seizing the summit of the mountain, which had been held by a small body of our troops. Camp Garnett was thereupon abandoned. A portion of the force, which had occupied it, attempting, by a flank movement, to join General Garnett, were intercepted, and, it is said, taken prisoners. Other parties, from the same command, succeeded in making their escape by mountain paths, and are daily coming into this camp. General Garnett, abandoning his position at Laurel Hill, retreated upon the road, towards Beverly, with the design of joining Colonel Scott. Finding this impracticable, he renewed his retreat, following the road to Saint George, and intending to fall back through Petersburg and Franklin upon this point. The enemy, in superior force, with cavalry and flying artillery, pursued him, and on Saturday, in the vicinity of the left branch of Cheat River, attacked his rear, defended by the First Georgia Regiment. It is said that the enemy was a first repulsed, and repulsed three times, with great loss; but, while a portion of his infantry was scattered in the wood, his artillery was finally brought to bear successfully upon our column. It was during one of thence engagements that General Garnett, proceeding in person to the rear, himself fell. Yesterday, when I sent you a telegram, I was quite satisfied, from the reports of fugitives, and from the absence of all communication with his command, that it must have been disorganized. I have since been led to hope (through no official channel, however) that a considerable body of them, disencumbered by abandonment of their wagon train, succeeded in continuing an organized retreat, and were yesterday upon the eastern declivity of the Alleghany Mountain, some fifteen miles from Petersburg. If this be true, I look for their arrival at this point on Friday next.
Colonel Johnson, pursuing the turnpike road towards Huttonsville, had made a forced march on Saturday, to form a connection with Colonel Scott's regiment, expecting to occupy Cheat Mountain. At Greenbier River, however, some fifteen miles this side of the mountain stronghold, he met Colonel Scott in full retreat, was apprised of the retreat of General Garnett, and of the presence of the enemy, in large numbers, in the immediate vicinity. The troops having been wearied by long marches, &c., he felt too weak to continue his forward movement, and determined to fall back upon this point.
On Sunday morning I met him, and, after frank consultation, concerning some scruples, assumed command. My own judgment approving of what he had previously done, the backward march was continued to this place, for the purpose of relieving ourselves of heavy wagon trains, of forming a connection with the North Carolina Regiment, of resting and rallying the troops, and of holding them in readiness either to resist the advance of the enemy on the Huttonsville road, or to move to the relief of General Garnett in the direction of Franklin and Petersburg. hearing nothing from that direction, however, I was contemplating a renewed movement towards the Cheat Mountain, when I received intelligence yesterday of General Garnett's death and the uncertain condition of his retreating column. This movement was contemplated, however, rather with a view to the moral effect to be produced by it, not simply at a distance, but upon the people of the intervening districts, who are really in a most pitiable state of panic, than with a hope of effectively preventing the enemy's progress towards the east, should he propose to make it at once. You are, doubtless, already