was watched with solicitude from hour to hour. General Schenck whose judgment in the matter I relied upon, being unwilling to abandon the plan of crossing his force in the enemy's rear, no movements was made in front that would preclude this, which promised, if effected, the most complete success.
On the 10th I dispatched to General Schenck as follows:
Benham concealed near mouth of Loop Creek, with 3,000 men, posting himself on all the roadways. If you can cross above, he will attack them in front and left flank, while you will take the rear. If you cannot cross, you will come down and attack by front, while Benham will cut off their retreat.
Benham's movements from the 3rd to the 10th were regulated as far as they could be by a series of twenty-three telegraphic dispatches and one written, all appended hereto, the general tenor and object of which was to inform him that he would be re-enforced by detachments from the Seventh, Thirty-seventh, and Forty-fourth Ohio Regiments; that he saw to cross over to Loop Creek, occupy it up as far as Taylor's, establish himself firmly, make his men comfortable, see that they were well supplied with rations from three to five days ahead, reconnoiter the passes from Loop Creek to the enemy's position by Cassidy's Mill, and to his rear by the same, and up Loop Creek by Kincaid's, Carter's, and Light's Mill to the Raleigh road, and to hold himself in readiness to act as soon as it was determined whether we could cross New River above Schenck's position. On the 6th General Benham crossed with his brigade. In short, the whole tenor of the dispatches from November 5 to November 8, as will be seen by reference to them, was to enforce upon his attention the necessity of knowing the passes from his position to the flank and rear of the enemy, especially the only by Cassidy's Mill; that, if Schenck could cross to take enemy in rear, his work would be to attack by route on the flank or by the front and flank, and that, should the river prevent Schenck's passage, he would be called down and would operate in a combined attack on the front, flank, and rear; that is, as it might be found more or less practicable to move Schenck's troops directly by the Fayette road or by the way of Cassidy's Mill. These points appear in dispatch Numbers 23, November 9, appended hereto, wherein it is said, among other things:
In that case Schenck will cross 3,000 men, seize Fayette, and advance down the road. You will take them by the Laurel Creek route or by the Nugent path only, or by both, as may he determined by the nature of the ground, which you will learn from your scouts, and communicate to me your opinion thereon when they come in as soon as practicable.
POSITION OF THE TROOPS ON THE MORNING OF THE 10TH.
Schenck at camp Ewing; means of crossing ready; river too high. McCook at Camp Anderson; enemy in force at Dickerson's, opposite Miller's Ferry, firing at the ferry, as for the last twenty days. General Cox, with the Second Kentucky, at Tompkins' farm, remainder at Gauley. General Benham at mouth of Look Creek with main body; strong detachment up Look, in vicinity of Taylor's and on road towards Cassidy's Mill. Rebels ceased firing with their cannon at Gauley and Tompkins' farm and McCook's camp, which they had tried two or three times to disturb by firing shot and shell across the river.
On that morning General Cox detached Colonel De Villers with 200