War of the Rebellion: Serial 005 Page 0264 OPERATIONS IN MD., N. VA., AND W. VA. Chapter XIV.

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[Inclosure Numbers 19.]

HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT WESTERN VIRGINIA,

Camp Gauley Mountain, November 8, 1861.

Your two dispatches and copy of Lieutenant-Colonel Creighton's just received. When the other scouts come in from Colonel Siber collate carefully all the information they have, and from them ascertain the exact nature of the roads or paths the troops have to pass over, and, if possible, the immediate approaches to the enemy's camp. Our information goes to show a small camp at Dickerson's and a larger one in the immediate vicinity of Wagner's Mill. So far as at present informed there is where the main body is. You want to know what the road is to this point; what paths, if any, diverge right and left from the one you would follow down Laurel, and what room there is for the display of your troops; also whether there is any path leading from the top of your line to the top of Cotton Hill. It would be necessary to have the command and we might probably want the use of such path. i should like a report as early in the day as possible, because I want to arrange definitely details of the operations, if possible, for to-night and to-morrow. We have no information of firing from above. No movements was authorized..

Brigadier-General BENHAM, Camp, Loop Creek Mouth.

[Inclosure Numbers 20.]

HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT WESTERN VIRGINIA,

Camp Gauley Mountain, November 8, 1861.

Schenck's boats will not be ready to-night. Scouts from Lookout and Bowyer's Ferry report no indications of approaching force. There is a scout out to-night to go up towards Sewell. I want Nuget's located on our map and to hear from your scouts above. We may be obliged to seize Cotton Hill by the front of strongly opposed and unable to cross above, i hope to hear again from your scouts to-night as to the road over to Laurel Creek, &c. I hope, general, you will be reserved in discussing our plans and caution the staff. A dispatch came to me in cipher to you from Lander.

Brigadier-General BENHAM, Camp, Loop Creek Mouth.

[Inclosure Numbers 21.]

Nos. 14 and 15 received. Everything you report noted and so far satisfactory, What I want to know is what sort of a road or path you will have to go over to reach Warner's Mill and what sort of ground you could form or debouch on. The details of that should be well studied. If your front is narrow, the difficulties will of course increase. If you can form out of sight and deploy so as to cover the ground right and left of their position, it would be better. If the passway is clear in the center and positions can be found for the two mountain howitzers to enfilade or even play on their camp, better still. Proceed with great caution and secrecy to get these details as far as possible. The scouts have seen the camp at a distance, as Dives saw Lazarus, but there may be a great gulf between them. Appearances indicate that your brigade, with support from Gauley properly timed, could whip them, but let us try to make a certainly. The distance of 2 miles given by the scouts, as mentioned in Numbers 15, must be a mistake. It is 4 miles from the mouth of Loop to the Fayette road, mouth of Big Mill, and.