of the enemy, they were compelled to retire after exchanging a few shots. But they found the trap closed, several hundred of the enemy's infantry having passed their rear close to the road-side on inaccessible ground. Captain Brock, with 20 men, having come down to warn them, now brought his little force up in good order to their relief. Colonel Jenkins, when caught in the ambuscade, and Captain Brock, who had deliberately come to his assistance, behaved with the greatest gallantry, and ran the gauntlet of the enemy's fire at a few yards' distance, bringing up their forces with very little loss under the circumstances. Captain Brock had 1 man killed and 5 wounded. Colonel Jenkins had made no report to me. He was slightly injured in the arm, lost 1 prisoner, and some 10 or 12 of his wounded were found on the road, bestead 3 disabled horses, some 20 hats, and 2 saddles. Many of his men threw away and lost their arms, and, after getting through the defile, were met by us 4 miles from the enemy in an incurable state of panic. Captain Brock's men, with a single exception, were quite cool, kept good order, and were willing to ride in again. The enemy retired immediately to their stronghold in the vicinity of the Hawk's Nest. Since then General Floyd has made an attack on the enemy, caught a regiment at breakfast, and in five minutes put them to flight, with the loss by the enemy of some 100 prisoners, 2 or 3 wagons, and some 20 or 30 killed and wounded, losing himself but 2 or 3 killed (it is said by our own artillery) and a few wounded. The enemy are about 700 strong below the Hawk's Nest, on this side of Gauley, and about 500 on Cotton Hill, the other side of New River, and about 4,000 or 5,000 in a main body, strongly fortified, about the bridge on Gauley River. The militia under Generals Chapman and Beckley (about 1,400), with small detachments of cavalry and infantry from my force (about 75 in all), are moving up the Cotton Hill, whence firing was heard yesterday.
I have the honor to be, most respectfully,
HENRY A. WISE,
RICHMOND, August 29, 1861.
General JOSEPH E. JOHNSON,
Commanding on the Potomac:
GENERAL: The inclosed petition from the authorities of the county of Shenandoah [A], transmitted to this Department by his excellency Governor Letcher, with his indorsement, in support of the prayer of the petitioners, together with the communication of the Honorable J. Randolph Tucker, the attorney-general of Virginia [B], relating to the same subject, represent that the county of Shenandoah has furnished in volunteers very nearly the full quota of 10 per cent. of the population for service in the Army, without estimating 600 men drafted under your requisition issued to Brigadier-General Meem and 900 men since drafted under the requisition of the President through Governor Letcher, and it is urgently desired that all of these 1,500 men now at Winchester in the brigade of General Meem, over and above the quota of 10 per cent. of the population, may be discharged from further service and be permitted to return to their agricultural pursuits. The case is strongly stated, but the Department must rely upon the judgment of its commanding generals as to the exigencies originally requiring this force to be called into the field, and which may still render it necessary to be retained in service before deciding upon its merits. As it was under your orders and requisition Brigadier-General Meem proceeded to form two out of four