cannot be procured in time, and there are now saw-mills now to be had, nor is there now time to carry out the first plan.
2nd. It may be possible to procure lumber enough to roof log huts and for forming the openings, but of this I am extremely doubtful, though I will cause instant inquiry to be made her, and beg you will institute similar inquiry in the neighborhood of your intended encampment.
3rd. Please send me at once the plan deemed best by you as a substitute for that which I proposed, and which is no longer feasible.
4th. Let me know exactly what is requisite from this place, and the unremitting efforts of the Department shall be directed to furnishing it.
5th. If lumber is required for roofing, and if thee is no substitute for it possible, inform me what quantity is required in all, and what proportion of it, if any, can be obtained in your neighborhood.
The importance of affording proper shelter for our troops during the rigors of the coming winter can scarcely be overestimated, and knowing how great your own solicitude on the subject must be, I find it impossible to account for your long delay in noticing my letter of the 13th ultimo, and your failure to exhibit any sign of uneasiness at the nonappearance of the saw-mills or workmen you expected to furnish the lumber. I still entertain the hope, however, that my alarm may be unfounded, and that Major Cabell may be able to suggest some mode of shelter as reported to me, which may enable you to put the troops under cover without the use of lumber, and in time to avoid any great exposure or suffering.
I am, respectfully, your obedient servant,.
J. P. BENJAMIN,
Acting Secretary of War.
HEADQUARTERS VALLEY DISTRICT,
Winchester, Va., November 7, 1861.
Major THOMAS G. RHETT,
Assistant Adjutant-General, Hdqrs. Army of the Potomac: .
MAJOR: I arrived here on the night of the same day that I was relieved from duty at Centreville.
Finding that General Kelley's forces in Romney, a distance of 42 miles, were about 4,000, and that an advance on this place was threatened, I repeated the call previously made by General Carson for the militia in his brigade and in those of Generals Meem and Boggs. The troops ar to rendezvous at this place. But as General Carson's brigade and that of General Meem are to a greater or less degree in service, and as General Boggs' command includes the South Branch region, occupied by the enemy, not many men will probably respond to the call.
The militia actually in the field number 1,461, stationed as follows: At Winchester, 442; at Lockhart's, distant 12 miles from here on the Northwestern turnpike, 155; at Cacapon Bridge, about 28 miles on the same road, 304; at Hammock's Gap, 12 miles this side of Romney, 160; at Martinsburg, 200; at Charlestown, 100; at Front Royal, in Warren County, distant 23 miles, 50; at Strasburg, distant 18 miles, 25; and at Mount Jackson, distant 42 miles, 25.
In addition to the foregoing there are 130 mounted militia: At winchester, 25; at Martinsburg, 75, and at Charlestown, 30.
As Colonel McDonald report direct to Richmond, and its not, from what I can learn, under my command, his forces are not included in the preceding statement; but they amount to 485, stationed as follows: .