War of the Rebellion: Serial 005 Page 0268 OPERATIONS IN MD., N. VA., AND W. VA. Chapter XIV.

Search Civil War Official Records

at Dickerson's and a Jones', a mile above. Appears to hold intersection of Fayette pike and Miller's ferry road. Under these circumstances you will proceed as follows: Supposing you have proceeded to occupy Cassidy's Mill with 1,000 men, with all provisions and with directions to push forward from that position strong scouting parties on the most practicable road to Fayette, and established an outpost to watch the Loop Creek road, I have directed General Cox to order Major Leiper, who commands the troops on Cotton Hill to report to you at the intersection of the Ridge road with the Fayette pike. It is about two miles and a half from the ferry. You will proceed with your command by the River road and occupy Cotton Hill to-night, pushing forward as far towards Fayette as you can, and have a strong position. Bivouac your troops. Send forward strong reconnoitering party, with orders to drive in the enemy's pickets and find out if they are retreating. Open communication with your detachment at Cassidy's Mill, in order that you may receive from them the earliest intimation of the enemy's movements. Schneider, with one piece, and McMullin's two howitzers will cross with the Kentucky troops to-night and report to you for orders. What we now have to do is first to occupy Cotton Hill and reconnoiter the enemy, working on his left flank if he retains his position and falling on his flank if he moves. General Schenck and McCook remain in position to-night watching. If a rebel force comes down on this side they will fall back, and our movements on your side be governed by circumstances. if the enemy retreat, Schenck will cross at Townsend's and McCook cover this line. I regret that circumstances seem to bring you in front. My great desire has been to cut off his communications. The road by Light's Mill seems now the only one that would do it. Perhaps you may yet be able to make a flank movement as soon as we have got through possession of Cotton Hill..

Brigadier-General BENHAM, Camp, Loop Creek Mouth.

[Inclosure Numbers 33.]

HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT WESTERN VIRGINIA,

Camp Gauley Mountain, November 11, 1861.

Your 27 received. By waiting it will probably be 11 before you get this. This defeats my plan, which was to have you on Cotton Hill by 10 o'clock to-night by the river road, with strong reconnoiter party, to watch the enemy's movements. If the enemy retreat to-night, he cannot be pursued with any chance of capturing him. If he stands, we shall have to engage him on the front and flank. In his present position he so nearly covers Townsend's Ferry, that Schenck cannot cross to co-operate unless rebels move down or up. If you come in with all your force at fayette, you will be opposite Townsend's. I Cannot send you any men, because I have none to send without calling them down from McCook or General Schenck. This will be the work of a day, and will delay the movement twenty-four hours. All reasonable chance of taking advantage of the enemy's retreat being cut off, the next best this seems to be that you should let your troops rest to-night. Have everything that can be done to prepare for this movement. Carry out your previous orders, sending such troops as you think best by 6 in the morning. Then carry out the orders you have received, sending such troops as you deem best to Cassidy's Mill, and arranging to communicate with them By Nugent's. You will reach Cotton Hill and Warner's Mill by the time they get to Cassidy's, and can send them word if the.