Numbers 26.] CAMP GAULEY, VA., August 31, 1861.
Brigadier General HENRY A. WISE:
SIR: The messenger who carries this note to you gives me information, which he will impart to you, to the effect that the enemy have abandoned Gauley Bridge, and are now advancing upon me at this point. If this information be correct, you should send me the strongest of your regiments to the top of the hill, near Gauley, with a good battery, so as to be perfectly in reach of men in case of need, and you should at once advance with the remainder of your command, and take possession of the camp at the mouth of the Gauley. I must ask of you also to send me two companies of efficient cavalry. Mine is in Greenbrier recruiting, and I am measurably without dragoon force. I have but little doubt of their retreat, although I much doubt of their intention of coming this way. Still, lest it be true, all necessary precautions should be taken to meet them, and to this end your regiment of infantry and a squadron of horse will probably be essential.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
JOHN B. FLOYD,
Brigadier-General, Commanding Army of Kanawha.
HEADQUARTERS OF WISE'S LEGION,
Dogwood Gap Camp, Va., August 31, 1861-10 p. m.
Brigadier General JOHN B. FLOYD, Commanding, &c.:
SIR: Your messenger, Mr. Carnifix, has just arrived, and is met by Captain Caskie, just from Cotton Hill. From the latter we learn that on Wednesday last the enemy were apparently moving up Gauley towards Twenty Mile Creek, but yesterday and to-day they have returned numerously. Their tents had been struck, and are now erected again. Certain it is that they have on this side retired from the Hawk's Nest and Turkey Creek to Big Creek, and have left the heights above Rich Creek, on the Gauley side of the mountain. I have this day, accordingly, moved up all of my available cavalry, and am preparing to move up my artillery and infantry to-morrow. My regiments are reduced one-half by the measles, my cavalry more than one-half in efficiency by want of forage and horse shoeing and by the detachment of one troops over New River, and my artillery one-third by the detachment re-enforcing your brigade. My whole available and efficient force here is less than 1,800 men of all arms. If I send you, then, my best regiment, a good battery of artillery, and two companies of efficient cavalry, there will be left, for the defense of this road, or, rather, to execute your order to take possession of the camp at the mouth of the Gauley, less than 1,100 men and but one piece of artillery. You have three of my pieces of artillery, and I have but five left. If a good battery is taken away, and one regiment, the best out of three (now reduced in numbers to the complement of one and a half regiments), and also nearly all of my efficient cavalry are detached, I shall not have force enough for defense, much less to take possession of the camp at the mouth of the Gauley. Five times my numbers cannot take that camp without any, or with but one, piece of artillery, well fortified as it is, with nearly double the number of pieces of our combined commands. The enemy are about 700 strong on this side of the mouth of the Gauley, with artillery in position. To drive them first across Gauley, in the face of batteries covering them, from the camp on the opposite side, and then to take