STAUNTON, VA., December 17, 1861.
SIR: I inclose herewith a copy of the letter [of 15th instant] this day received from Colonel E. Johnson, commanding at Alleghany.* In consequence of the necessity of meeting the enemy at Alleghany, and the uncertainty of their movement, I have determined to keep the command of Colonel Johnson where it is for the present, holding it in readiness to move at any time in the direction of Moorefield, holding it in readiness to move at any time in the direction of Moorefield should it be thought best. I do this for the reason that it would be some days before that command could move, and that it is undoubtedly the determination of the enemy to occupy Alleghany Pass, if possible, and to re-enforce General Kelley by crossing the Alleghany and forming a junction with him via Moorefield. I have, besides the command of Colonel Taliaferro [four regiments], advanced some days ago, the whole of the troops from the Huntersville line, composed of the three Tennessee, two Virginia regiments, and the Hampden and Danville batteries of artillery, in all, about 6,000 men.
Two of the regiments, the Seventh Tennessee and the Twenty-first Virginia, left here on yesterday, via the Valley road, and the remainder are now at Ryan's, about 20 miles distant, on the Monterey road. I shall order to move to-morrow morning, via Harrisonburg, the whole, to form a junction with General Jackson at the earliest possible moment..
I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
W. W. LORING,
General SAMUEL COOPER,.
Adjutant and Inspector General C. S. Army, Richmond, Va.
No. 5. Reports of Colonel Edward Johnson, Twelfth Georgia Infantry, and response of the Secretary of War.
CAMP ALLEGHANY, December 13, 11861.
COLONEL: Yesterday I sent out a scout, who fell in with a column of the enemy, killing some 8 or 10. This morning our pickets were driven in about 4 a.m. I made preparations to meet the enemy. They appeared in force-not less than 5,000 men; attacked my right and left we have hastily thrown up a trench. I have only about 1,200 effective men. Four hundred of my men met the enemy on the right flank, and after a severe contest defeated them. On the left the enemy attacked our entrenchments, but failed to carry them. They were met on both points with the most determined heroism, and, after a contest lasting from 7 a.m. until near 2 p.m., repulsed with great loss. Our victory has been complete, but dearly bought. We have lost several gallant officers killed and many wounded. Among the killed are Captain P. B. Anderson, Lee Battery; Captain Mollohan, Hansborough's battalion. Wounded, Captain Deshler, my acting assistant adjutant-general; Lieutenant-Colonel Hansborough, Lieutenant George T. Thompson, Thirty-first Virginia Regiment, and others-Lieutenant Thompson fatally, I fear.
The enemy were led into my camp by a Virginia traitor. Since the battle the Forty-fourth have come up, and the Fifty-eighth, I am informed, is en route to this place. The enemy left a large number killed.
*Reports No. 5, p.461.