imagine my disappointment at the information you give, that on the day before the date of your letter the army at your position "was no stronger than on July 21." I can only repeat what was said to you in our conference at Fairfax Court-House, that we are restricted in our capacity to re-enforce by the want of arms. Troops to bear the few arms you have in store have been ordered forward. Your view of the magnitude of the calamity of defeat of the Army of the Potomac is entirely concurred in, and every advantage which is attainable should be seized to increase the power of your present force. I will do what I can to augment it numbers, but you must remember that our wants greatly exceed our resources.
Banks's brigade, we learn, has left the position occupied when I last saw you. Sickles is said to be yet on the Lower Potomac, and, when your means will enable you to reach him, I still hoe he may be crushed..
I will show this reply to the Secretary of War, and hope there will be no misunderstanding between you in future. The success of the army requires harmonious co-operation.
Very respectfully, yours, &c.,
HEADQUARTERS ARMY KANAWHA,
Camp Dickerson, November 10, 1861.
Honorable J. P. BENJAMIN, Secretary of War:
SIR: As this is a strictly private letter, I write my own hand. It is now 2 o'clock p. m. I have labored until 2 in the public service, and have taken this afternoon to arrange my papers and make up my cash account. I find leisure while my clerks are at work, not requiring my immediate attention, to write you. This army is utterly demoralized, or, if this term is too strong, it is the most disquieted collection of men I have ever known massed together. They want to go back to some point to winter nearer to provisions for men and horses. I have opposed this, and do now oppose it, for the reasons that we will have to conquer territory abandoned in the spring at full as great a sacrifice as it will cost to hold it this winter. The men of this army are dying, it is true, at a fearful rate, but raw men who do duty every other night would die any where. We are compelled to have strong pickets, as we are an inferior force in the immediate presence of a vastly superior one. The mutterings that precede a storm are so loud in the army that any one in the army could hear them in the dead hour of the night if not under the influence of some powerful narcotic. Now, sir, you must fully understand, in my position, as I feel and know it to be from the confidence reposed in me (even from the President down I am trusted), I have and do exercise on most occasions an energy that is starling to the sluggish multitude; but kindness, energy, and the performance of duties fail to satisfy an army who resolve upon a purpose which I oppose; and now, from being the most popular man in this army, I am now satisfied, from the requisitions made on me-some legitimate, but many to vex-that I am now not acceptable to the army.
A. W. G. DAVIS.
P. S.-Inclosed I send you a topographical sketch, which has the merit of being exactly correct. .