My present purpose is to remain here until I hear from you in response to these views. If I retreat, I shall retreat directly upon the interior of Kentucky, so as to draw the enemy away from this facilities of water transportation and to fall myself into the midst of friendly populations. I regard West Liberty, in Morgan County, as the great center of Eastern Kentucky, and shall make it my main depot hereafter when I do move. It is 75 miles from Maysville, 76 miles from the mouth of the Sandy, 65 miles from Irvine, and 78 miles from Pound Gap, and 70 miles from Paris. If you will put the center at West Liberty and describe the circle, you will see it passes nearly through all the points mentioned. the distances I give are by the roads.
I hear that changes of popular opinion very favorable to us are going on between this and the mouth of the Sandy. Indeed, prominent men have made overtures to me indirectly, which I shall try and improve into a well-cemented friendship. Nor am I without some hope that the Kentucky regiments below me in the enemy's lines will become disaffected to their cause; but these matters, general, have not taken such shape as yet as to authorize me to speak of them more definitely now.
I have directed civic administration to be instituted in the counties along this frontier upon the basis of allegiance to the Confederate States. This must force an issue at once or will transfer the people, for it is impossible that when magistrates, constables, sheriffs, clerks, recorders, and judges are sworn in under the provisional government and revenues are collected by our officers another system can occupy the same space at the same time.
I sent to Pound Gap as a prisoner one Dr. Chilton, and have him there in custody. He ought to have been shot, for he is one of the very worst men in this country and has been a scourge to our friends. I propose to send my prisoners to Pound Gap, where the battalion stationed there can easily guard them, and the winds of the Cumberland Heights can ventilate them property. I have a log house erected there for their especial accommodation. Mr. Chilton is the only tenant as yet. Mr. Diltz would have been better there, I fear, than at large. One Mr. Filson (a deputy United States marshal) ventured to Piantsville yesterday, nd I had him arrested last night, but have not seen him yet. He is represented as bold and sagacious, and is probably here as a spy from the interior. I shall look to his case after daybreak. I am gratified to inform you that my topography of this country promises to be so minute as to be verity valuable to the Department, as it has been already to me.
The line of couriers established by me works very well, arriving regularly Wednesdays and Saturdays from Abingdon and departing next day. It runs along my line of transportation, and serves to warn me of any interruption between this and my point of supply. In an emergency, by telegraphing to Abingdon, you can express to me from Richmond in thirty hours.
I shall have to determine for myself the question of subsistence refereed to you from, Jeffersonville, Va., in November, unless I shall be favored with a speedy reply.
I am, your obedient servant,
General S. COOPER,
Adjutant and Inspector-General.