me to assume the command of all the troops at Prestonburg and in that vicinity, "for the protection and defense of that frontier."
My appointment, following certain political conversations, was accepted, with an understanding of the scope of what was expected. My authority to accept and raise companies, battalions, and regiments into the service of the Confederate States was made express and unlimited, and my separate command (only under your general direction, as military chief of the department) was assured in terms.
It was then rumored at Richmond that some 2,000 or 2,500 men were in Prestonburg and were being rapidly mustered into the service of the Confederate States, and it was the supposition of the Department of War that, with the two regiments from Virginia, I should have a force to commence my operations with of about 5,000 men or its equivalent. But the regiment of Colonel Trigg (Fifty-fourth Virginia) took the field with only 560 effective men, and the other, under Colonel Moore, of Abingdon, has not yet joined me with one of his wings, nor has that officer, as late as four days since, received his arms; so he reports by letter.
On my arrival here I found a force (which was intended to be joined to the Abingdon battalion, so as to make a regiment) stationed in Pound Gap, 350 strong, under Major Thompson, whereas James Giles was indicated as the person to be made major of Moore's regiment when organized by me, as per order from the Adjutant-General. I found, moreover, that this battalion had been raised by order of Brigadier-General Zollicoffer for twelve months, to answer a special service, to wit, to defend the mountain gaps and to be kept in the counties of Lee, Scott, and Wise, in the State of Virginia, and that the men were not willing to dispense with the condition expressed in their enlistment nor willing to pass into Kentucky.
Under these circumstances I deemed it most prudent not to attempt the organization of Moore's regiment without further orders from the Adjutant-General, whom I advised of the state of facts in the case. I gave Colonel Moore orders to move the Abingdon battalion to this point as early as the 6th of November, and reported them in writing on the 9th of same month. He has not yet come up, for the reason already alluded to-want of arms, clothing, rations, and transportation. He has not reported to me the strength of the force immediately under his command, nor can I estimate it beforehand further than to say I suppose it will be from 350 to 400 men, making the whole Virginia force in this column some 1,200 to 1,300 men, or little more than one regiment, including the special-service men-little less than one full regiment, excluding them.
The infantry force under Colonel John S. Williams, is reported to me to be 799 or 835 in the aggregate of officers and men, and the mounted force at 400. So that from the best knowledge I have sir, I will state the total force subject to my orders to be, infantry, 2,100; mounted men, 400; battery, four pieces, 65 men. Yet in this estimate I count 400 under Moore, who have not yet left their homes at Abingdon, but it is reported they will move during this week. Say a total of all arms of 2,500 men, which is just half of the number I expected to take the field with.
The men under Colonel Williams are not yet in their winter clothing, though requisition after requisition has been made. I understand, however, some clothing, probably sufficient for the command, has arrived at Abingdon, and will be brought forward in a few days. This force under Colonel Williams has been so constantly pressed by the superior force of the enemy, that it has not been drilled at all, and is as unskilled in tactics as the common militia of the country. The officers seem well