may be a retreating instead of a victorious one, and the consequences of such a retreat may not have their disastrous effects limited to this district. The canal-boats have been going toward Cumberland for near a week. They have gone up empty and in large numbers. To prevent their returning to Washington with coal I attempt to turn the water around the Virginia side of Dam Numbers 5 but was prevented by the enemy's sharpshooters. I am still sanguine of accomplishing my purpose at another point.
The militia of the exposed counties ought to be able to protect their locates from marching parties that might be disposed to commit depredations in the event of General Loring's cavalry being withdrawn..
Colonel W. R. Taliaferro arrived yesterday with his brigade in good condition. I much needed a good engineer officer.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
T. J. JACKSON,
Major-General, P. AS. C. S., Commanding Valley District.
HEADQUARTERS NORTHWESTERN ARMY,
Staunton, Va., December 9, 1861.
General S. COOPER, Adjutant General, &c.:
GENERAL: I have the honor to inclose the letter of Colonel Johnston, in command on Alleghany Pass. In consequence of the insufficiency of the cavalry on both lines I think it would be best to leave a regiment of infantry, with a section of artillery, on the Staunton line, in the vicinity of Monterey. It will also be advisable to call out some of the militia on the Millborough line, to aid the cavalry to be left at Huntersville. I think that proposed will be sufficient to keep back depredating parties. Unless you think otherwise, I shall order as above stated.
With respect, I have the honor to be, your obedient servant,
W. W. LORING,
Brigadier-General, Commanding, &c.
CAMP ON ALLEGHANY, December 7, 1861.
Colonel C. L. STEVENSON,
Assistant Adjutant General, Army Northwest, Staunton:
SIR: If it is intended to abandon entirely this position, under the impression that the enemy have left Cheat Mountain, or that if they have not, the roads and climate, &c., will prevent their making incursions into this country, a grave mistake has been committed. The enemy are still on Cheat Mountain. Their scouts are almost daily seen. To-day my scouts they were in the vicinity of Green Bank, and stole a horse or two. If this post is abandoned there will be nothing to prevent their march to Staunton, and my opinion is that they will improve the opportunity thus offered them. Moreover, if they get possession here it will be difficult to dislodge them. Our own entrenchments will afforced them shelter, and additional works will make this point very strong. The cavalry to be here will be, in my opinion, of no avail against the forces of the enemy. Little reliance can be placed in the cavalry I have thus far seen. Infantry and artillery I consider essential in order to hold this position.