War of the Rebellion: Serial 007 Page 0035 Chapter XVII. EASTERN KENTUCKY.

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Hoping that I may be permitted to pass the gates of the mountains and strike at the great rebel railroad, I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

J. A. GARFIELD,

Colonel, Commanding Brigade.

Captain J. B. FRY,

Assistant Adjutant-General.

HEADQUARTERS EIGHTEENTH BRIGADE,

George's Creek, December 28, 1861.

Colonel JONATHAN CRANOR,

Commanding Fortieth Ohio Volunteers

DEAR SIR: We now have reached a point from which we can begin to act in concert. I have advanced to within 18 miles of the enemy, who has just retired to a point 2 or 3 miles back of Paintsville, where he seems to be fortifying. He has two full regiments, under Humphrey Marshall, a brigadier-general in the rebel army, and an irregular force of local rebels, which make their force about 2,500 men. They have four small guns, probably 6-pounders, and a considerable part of their force is cavalry. They seemed to be somewhat surprised, and about 300 came in from West Liberty a day or two since in some confusion, which leads me to suspect that they have heard from your scouts. My information is of such a character as to induce me to believe it is reliable.

The plan of our joint operations will be understood from the accompanying map.* My messenger will reach you on Sunday morning. You will at once take up your line of march toward Prestonburg, by the way of Hazel Green and Burning Spring. Send a sufficiently strong force by way of West Liberty and Licking Station to protect our flank, and hold itself in readiness either to join you from the latter place or to proceed directly to Paintsville, according to the necessities of the case. You will advance with the greatest dispatch to Prestonburg, and if the enemy continues to hold his present position, 9 miles north of Prestonburg, as indicated on the inclosed map, you will advance toward him along the road from Prestonburg, to attack him in the ear or cut off his retreat, while my force attacks him from the Paintsville road. I shall hope you will be able to reach Prestonburg by Wednesday or Thursday. I shall leave this point on Monday; shall advance by easy marches; shall endeavor to keep his attention directed this way, and shall hope to offer him battle on Thursday or Friday. Our hope of success depends upon the celerity, promptness, and unity of our movements. Not having head from you, I am left in some doubt of your being able to carry out the part of the programme assigned to you. There may also be enemies on your route that I do not know of. Make a full report of your situation to me by the express rider who delivers this, and he will return your answer to me by the express rider who delivers this, and he will return your answer your answer to me in time to make any change in the plan which may be necessary. The opportunity is now before us, and I shall expect every effort will be made to improve it. The messenger will report to you verbally our strength and condition.

Very respectfully, yours,

J. A. GARFIELD,

Colonel, Commanding Brigade.

P. S. We shall be able to communicate with each other at several points on our route.

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*Not found.

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