States comes not to maraud and oppress, but to protect and to respect the constitutional rights of the people. The Army of the United States, invited here to defend this people, halted at no excess. They burned and ravaged the towns, insulted females and violated their persons, stole wearing apparel, and killed stock, and frequently deprived poor people of the means of subsistence. I have sought to impress all that this course on their part was a true representation of the despotic principles their master seeks to establish on a permanent basis, while the respect I and my men pay to persons and property, without regard to mere opinion, is the reflex of the principles we represent. The effect has been exceedingly favorable, for the contrast is striking and visible to the commonest man in the community.
I found prisoners at Pound Gap arrested for their active pursuit of their opinions. I released them and sent them home after explaining to them the principles I advocate. They said the well had been removed from their eyes, and I afterwards found them well disposed and active in getting recruits for my command.
I have advanced my cavalry to West Liberty, in Morgan County-not to station it, but to pass through the county, inspirit our friends, and to prevent the enemy from stripping the country of its stock.
I hear that Colonel Moore, with his Abingdon battalion, has actually started, but is making only 5 or 6 miles per day. This augurs badly for his efficiency in the future, but I will not despair. Colonel Stuart, at last advices, was waiting at Abingdon for transportation. Intelligence has reached me from various quarters that six field pieces are at Abingdon intended for this command, but I have received no dispatch informing me that such was its destination nor the amount of ammunition accompanying it. I have a hope that you will inform me, so that, if the battery is to be sent to me, it may be manned and equipped and moved at once, before the ice gathers, so as to make the mountains impassable.
I have a detachment making salt for the use of my command, and I also have possession of the Salt Works at Brashearsville, on the North Fork of the Kentucky River, 20 miles below Whitesburg. I hope through these to make 35 or 40 bushels of salt per week, so as not only to supply my current demand, but to enable me to pack as much meat ration as will serve this army for future purposes. The prices here and at Bristol for pork are as 4 1/2 to 5 is to 9 to 10, which you see is a vast difference.
I have seen several men from the interior of Kentucky, and I have secured a line of intelligence from my camp to Lexington. I shall in future know pretty well what is going on to the very center of the enemy's operations in Kentucky, and will be perfectly guarded against surprise. I learn that the young men in the interior are beginning to learn my whereabouts and are moving. May I beg of the Government, if it is possible, to let me have good arms to put in their hands when they come to me. They have no arms; they can't get them. Their rifles and shot-guns have been taken away from them by the Lincolnites. I think Mr. Benjamin should let me have at least the percussion muskets I turned over to him through Governor Letcher. I am gratified to say to you that my movement here altogether looks auspicious of good, and I have high hopes that the future may realize our hopes.
I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Brigadier-General, C. S. Army.