HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF WESTERN VIRGINIA, Wheeling, February 7, 1862.
Brigadier General L. THOMAS,
Adjutant-General U. S. Army, Washington, D. C.:
GENERAL: I have the honor to submit for the consideration of the General-in-Chief the following:
1. Up to the present date there is but little force of rebels scattered along the southern and western border of this department and covering the railroad lines adjacent thereto..
2. Two columns organized as secretly as possible, with pack-trains and shelter-tents, instead of wagons and tents, carrying hand-miles for grinding corn for bread, one moving from Big Sandy Valley, the other from Raleigh Court-House, would be able to strike the Southwestern Virginia and Tennessee Railroad at Abingdon on the west and Central on the east, and completely break that road up and hold the valley.
3. The present force in the Big Sandy and Guyandotte Valleys, aided by one or two more regiments and under one commander, would suffice for one column. Five more regiments in Kanawha Valley would give strength enough for the other; that is to say, eight more regiments, including one of cavalry, would answer and hold the Kanawha Valley strongly enough for all probable purposes.
4. There would be required not more than 2,000 animals in addition to those any on hand to carry out these plans.
5. I have now about 100 trained packers, and orders are being executed by which all the teamsters of every regiment in this department will be instructed in packing.
6. There may probably be found forage enough on the routes to subsist the trains through to the valley and certainly enough there.
7. If the General-in-Chief sees great military advantages in carrying out the complete disruption of that rebel railroad route, and will give me directions to prepare the ways and means of doing it on the general plan indicated, or any modification thereof found desirable, and will place the west side of Big Sandy with its present force under my command, I will be answerable for the work.
8. I wish orders in reference [to] General Denver, who informs me he is ordered to report to me.
9. I wish Hartsuff to command to Big Sandy column in I can possibly get him.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
W. S. ROSECRANS,
Brigadier-General, U. S. Army.
HEADQUARTERS DIVISION AT FREDERICK, February 10, 1862.
Brigadier General S. WILLIAMS,
Assistant Adjutant-General, Washington, D. C.:
GENERAL: Owing to the discontent existing among the rebel troops, and the oppressive measures adopted to force citizens of Virginia into the service of the Confederate States, the number of deserters and refugees from rebels at Hancock is becoming very large, and the expense of transportation correspondingly great. Cannot we limit the number
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