War of the Rebellion: Serial 005 Page 0265 Chapter XIV. KANAWHA AND NEW RIVER, W. VA.

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between these is that immense ridge, on top of which they certainly are not. You say nothing of Cassidy's Mill. Our information shows on the sketch indicates it as a key-point. Give that a little of your attention early to-morrow, Fifteen dragoons have been ordered to report to you..

[Inclosure Numbers 22.]

HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT WESTERN VIRGINIA,

Camp Gauley Mountain, November 9, 1861.

Yours (Numbers 16) received. This rain is very untoward. General Schenck's report not yet in. Rain may prevent his crossing. He will not be ordered down until we find that it must be abandoned. I have from the beginning had but one intention about your command. It must hold and occupy that side of the river until we have disposed of the rebels, or get possession of Cotton Hill, or been driven back. Your position prevents them from going farther down to play the game they have played above; it threatens them front and rear. Hence, referring to former dispatches pointing out the primary objects of your crossing and enjoining you to establish your command solidly, hold firmly, examine thoroughly, and to make your men comfortable, to keep up your supplies, to take cooking utensil salong, &c., &c., I have now to say that, in carrying out these instructions, you must use your discretion to do it effectually and insure the comfort of your men. I see no reason why they should want for cooked provisions. Why not issue them rations? No reason they should have half enough tents. I directed you to take the minimum of baggage, not that could be taken, but that would suffice. If you could not get tents up to all these men, withdraw those who have none until they can be supplied or the weather improves. I look to your dispatches for accurate information of the route to the rebel's camp. None so far say what paths the scouts followed, nor where they came out on the rebels, nor how where their pickets. Please let me hear all about these points as far as you know them. You will observe in all my dispatches great stress laid on this, without which we must act in that dark. Awaiting early report.

Brigadier General H. W. BENHAM, Camp, Loop Creek Mouth.

[Inclosure Numbers 23.]

HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT WESTERN VIRGINIA,

Camp Gauley Mountain, November 9, 1861.

Yours (Numbers 18) received. Major Crawford just returned, and reports the river too high to cross to night, but falling; will be ready by to-morrow night. We leave three companies scouting the front of Cotton Hill opposite the ferries. Your scouts' reports and these will determine if we are to move at once or wait until to-morrow night. In that case Schenck will cross 3,000 men, and will seize Fayette and advance down the road, and you will take them by the Laurel Creek route only or by the Nugent path only, or by both, as may be determined by the partieres of the ground, which you will learn from your scouts, and communicate to me, with your opinion thereon, as soon after they come in as practicable. I have been informed that the area between you and Mill Creek Valley, up which the Fayette road passes, consists of flattopped rolling surface, over which our scouts can go whenever they please. This was my impression, but it has been so flatly contradicted that I gave up until to-day.

Brigadier-General BENHAM, Camp, Loop Creek Mouth.