corn, and to take on not only my own sick, but many of the sick of your command, whom your surgeons left suffering and dying on the way. And I am informed that your quartermaster has stopped some of my wagons, and that others, containing my supplies, have been turned back. I have a large amount of baggage, ammunition, and stores accumulated here, which I am bound ot save, and will save from the enemy, who have approached within 6 miles of me in force.
My position here is strong, and is much stronger than that of Meadow Bluff. I can hold it, repulse the enemy, and thus defend your rear, and fall back in dire time without the loss of a single thing of value, and before there can be any junction of the enemy's forces to attack you or any combined forces at Meadow Bluff. I have ascertained this morning that the enemy are not upon the Wilderness road, but hey have crossed at Carnifix, and are upon the Bracken' Creek road, leading from Carnifix to Masten's, and upon this turnpike form Gauley. They will, if they form a junction at all, form it at Bracken's Creek, 6 miles west of me.
If they do combine and advance, and our joint forces can repel them at Meadow Bluff, I will repel them here, combined or not combined, and will thus save my stores and supplies, and bring up your rear. You need not re-enforce me here. I will re-enforce you in full time at Meadow Bluff, and, as to the manner of bringing up your rear and saving my command and its baggage and honor, in execution of your order of the 16th, I must, I respectfully urge, be allowed the sound and saving discretion of one trusted with a separate brigade. Further, you not only say that "I did not think proper to bring up your rear, as directed in direction from which you had gone." In respect tot hat, sir, you have been misinformed or are mistaken. I have not chosen to advance in the direction; but, on the contrary, have retired one of my regiments have ordered on all my commissary and quartermaster supplies, not necessarily required immediately, towards your camp. I will make a timely move when I can do so safely and without loss to join your force, and make a stand against the enemy at Meadow Bluff. I do not see the necessity of doing so at once, and in the present state of the roads cannot do so "at once," unless my wagons are speedily end to me from this, eastward, from your command, from Lewisburg, White Sulphur, and Jackson's River. I repeat the request that you will have sent to me the five now held by your quartermaster. I will earnestly endeavor to co-operate in making the strongest resistance, and I am doing so by remaining here for the present at least. I will try hard, on my part, not to disappoint any just expectations of the country in resisting the advance of the enemy, between whom and my command there is now but a very short space. When I fail in meeting such expectations I hope that I may be held to the utmost responsibility of my position as a commander, bound to due obedience, and trusted with sound discretion.
I am, sir, respectfully, your obedient servant,
HENRY A. WISE,
P. S.-As I finish, the enemy appear four miles and a half from my camp. This is certain. I shall await an attack, and leave it to your better judgment to send re-enforcements or not.