report the enemy are moving several regiments,they (the enemy) say in the direction of Kentucky and General Floyd, but it is believed by the people their destination is Romney, in consequence of an apprehended attack from General Jackson, now at Winchester. It may be observed that a campaign from Winchester against the enemy at Romney is the subject of conversation among the people from Petersburg to this place, and yesterday I received an express from General Boggs, asking a regiment to aid him in forcing the militia of Pendleton Country to turn out fort that purpose. The troops here and a t Alleghany have nearly completed their huts, and, as now located, it is believed could be subsisted through the winter. Owing to the difficulty of procuring means of transportation and to the present state of the roads, it will require, with every exertion, two, possible three, weeks to remove to the rear the troops, a large sick report, and a considerable amount of munitions not needed on the campaign.
In order to conceal, as far as possible, the movements of the army, I think it best to sent the troops on this line to Millborough, and thence by rail to Strasburg; these as Monterey either direct to Moorefield or to Strasburg via Stauton. The forces at monterey will check any advance on that line, if attempted, and be in readiness to move as indicated. If the road from Strasburg is practicable, the command ordered there could act with that from Moorefield; it impracticable, with that from Winchester.
I don not thin that a movement of the army could be kept fully concealed from the enemy, because the Union men have numerous rations throughout this region, and will, notwithstanding the utmost vigilance, obtain information. If the purpose of the withdrawal of this column can be disguised until that at Monterey shall have been fully prepared, the desired object may be effected by a rapid movement. I shall not, therefore, commence the march till sufficient transportation can be procured for the whole command. In the mean time (orders have been give therefor) the sick and public property not needed for the cavalry, which you suggest be left to protect the country against marauding parties, will removed to the rear as rapidly as possible. It appears that General Jackson anticipates a sudden movement of this command. With the utmost exertion on our part it is impossible to effect it in less time than that heretofore stated. There is a large quantity of ammunition, and from two hundred and fifty to two hundred and sixty thousand pounds of subsistence stores at this depot, reserve of ammunition at Warm Springs, and a large number of sick in hospital at the springs between this and the railroad. All of these must be transferred to Staunton, and transportation collected here, before the movement can be made.
As I consider prompt after starting of much importance, and as my suggestions differ somewhat from those contained int eh letter or General Jackson, I deem it proper to submit these suggestions to you, and ask for them your attention and opinion before perfecting my arrangements.
If, upon consideration of affairs on this line you should desire the proposed campaign to be prosecuted, be assured that I shall enter into it with a spirit to secured, and will be seconded by a command as ardent in the cause as any in the country, and who will cheerfully endure all the hardships incident to a winter campaign.
With respect, I have the honor to be, your obedient servant,
W. W. LORING,
Brigadier General, Commanding.