War of the Rebellion: Serial 005 Page 0286 OPERATIONS IN MD., N. VA., AND W. VA. Chapter XIV.

Search Civil War Official Records

of 40 miles. Our front can be easily rendered impregnable to five times our number. It is in the immediate vicinity of the enemy, where we annoy him constantly, and holding it, he is unable to advance upon us except with an overwhelming force, or to advance upon Lewisburg, or to leave his position without abandoning the great connecting link between the northwest proper, the railroad at Clarksburg, and the Kanawha Valley, and I think it would be impossible for the enemy to hold his position if we had of large caliber..

Fuel here is extremely abundant and the exposure a good one for the mountains. The chief obstacle to this point is the difficulty of transportation. The line is 100 miles long from the railroad, over a mountain road (not macadamized) which becomes very deep and muddle in the winter. Probably most of the advantages pertaining to this position could be realized by falling back to the point at or near Raleigh Court-House, 35 miles nearer the railroad, but to fall back beyond that point, I am very clearly confided, would prove extremely disastrous to the country and to cause in this region. Colonel Russell, of Mississippi, takes this communication, and is fully possessed of my views, which he can, if you choose, explain more in detail.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

JOHN B. FLOYD,

Commanding Army of Kanawha.

Honorable J. P. BENJAMIN, Secretary of War.

HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE KANAWHA,

Camp Piney, November 19, 1861.

SIR: In execution of a general plan, of which you were fully advised in my last dispatch, I succeeded [November 1] in placing my guns in battery on the south side of the Kanawha River, near the junction of the New and Gauley Rivers. This I accomplished after much arduous labor, by transporting by hand the guns over a very abrupt and precipitous locality for the distance of several miles. When they were gotten in position they proved a source of considerable annoyance to the enemy. They not only bore upon the ferry where formerly stood the Gauley bridge, but commanded for some considerable distance the road by which the enemy transported his provisions. The result was that the plying of his ferry-boats across the Gauley was stopped, one of the sunk, and all transportation over the road by day cut off. The sharpshooters, too, whom I posted on the bank of the river and under cover of my large guns, harassed him very much. The range was too great for the very successful use of small arms; still at certain points on the river many of his horses were killed and not less than 50 men. This blow was inflicted without the loss of a man on our side or the sustaining of a wound. In this juncture of affairs, ha a vigorous advance from the direction of Sewell Mountain and the Hawk's Nest been made upon the enemy it would have compelled him either to meet this attack and leave is rear open to my forces, or to cross the river in order to fight me, in the face of my guns and in open boats, pressed by the column advancing from the Hawk's Nest, or to take position as a lower point on the Kanawha. In either of these cases we could have engaged him with many advantages to us, and it is may conviction would have achieved a victory over him. The advance of such a force I hoped for when I left my position on Sewell Mountain, and regretted that the emergency of the service at Cheat Mountain rendered it necessary, in the judgment