War of the Rebellion: Serial 005 Page 0988 Chapter XIV. OPERATIONS IN MD., N. VA., AND W. VA.

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with the Twelfth, Sixteenth, and Nineteenth, under command of General Griffith.

The President further desires me to inform you that he can see mo reason for withdrawing from General Whiting's command any of the force now there, even after sending him the three Mississippi regiments in accordance with the foregoing instructions, inasmuch as he considers the danger of attack on your right moved imminent than on your center. But on this point he does not desire to control your discretion. He confines himself to directing that his repeatedly expressed wishes and orders about the Mississippi regiments be carried into effect.

Your obedient servant,

J. R. BENJAMIN,

Secretary of War.

HEADQUARTERS VALLEY DISTRICT,

Wisher, December 9, 1861.

Honorable J. P. BENJAMIN, Secretary of War:

SIR: Your letter of the 6th instant has been received, and tends to confirm the apprehension that I have entertained for weeks of the federal forces on the side of the Potomac effective a junction with General Kelley's troops. The forces in Romney are receiving re-enforcement. On the 5th instant Howe's battery of six pieces arrived there from Cheat Mountain, and there regiments are expect there soon from the place. This information is from a reliable person residing in Romney. I have understood that General Loring contemplates leaving his cavalry. It appears to me very important that his force should come as a unit to this point for not only are General Kelley's forces in Hampshire at this moment near 7,00 strong, and more expected from the West, but addition troops may at any time cross the Potomac at a lower point, and enter this district. In addition to these reasons for bringing his entire command here may be added the great importance, if successful, in recovering this district and capturing many of the enemy, and disorganizing the mass of such force as are threatening this region of wintering on the waters of the Ohio, as exposed in my letter of the 20th ultimo. Besides the reasons given in that letter for occupying the north western part of Virginia this winter may now be added the inducement of organizing forces in the region this winter, in accordance with the recent ordinance of the Convention of this Commonwealth, in the event of there not being enough troops for the war.

As the Federal forces may more on this place any day, I would respectfully recommend that General Loring be directed not to postpone the marching of his troops in consequence of a desire to save a large supply of subsistence stores. The enemy may remove such stores from this district much more rapidly than General Loring can His to a place of safety. The probabilities are that his stores, after withdrawing his command, could by a quartermaster or contractor be removed before their safety. The probabilities are that his stores, after withdrawing his command, could by a quartermaster or contractor be removed before their safety would be endangered; but should the enemy advance the enemy advance too soon, of does appear to me that it would be economy to burn or otherwise destroy them. It does appear to me that the capture of General Kelley's army, including his munitions of war, would be of war, would be of far more value to or Republic than General Loring's subsistence stores. If General Loring's entire command were here I would, with God's blessing, soon except to see General Kelley's army, or a large portion of it, in our possession; but if General Loring is not here speedily my command