Captain Cardell's company, Williams' Kentucky infantry, 135 men, at Whitesburg, Letcher County, on North Fork Kentucky River.
Captain Worsham's company, Williams' Kentucky infantry, 100 men, at Prestonburg.
Two hundred Kentucky cavalry, under command of Captain Shawhan (?), at Salyersville and West Liberty, about 40 miles in advance of General Marshall's headquarters at Paintsville.
Our base of supplies is Abingdon, Va., or Wytheville, the former about 130 and the latter 150 miles from Prestonburg.
The operations of our army may be viewed as defensive, offensive, or both:
First. As a force to defend the mountain passes against inroads upon the railroad at Wytheville or Abingdon or forays on the northwest of Virginia we have very ample forces.
Second. As an assailing force our army is to weak, except by means of sudden and rapid marches of cavalry, acting in concert with our friends in Bourbon, Fayette, Harrison, Montgomery, Bath, and other contiguous counties. We hear of ny enemy nearer than mouth of Sandy, at Catlettsburg, and Paris, Bourbon County, Kentucky.
These may be stated as the bases of the operations of the enemy: Catlettsburg, 60 or 70 miles from our headquarters, and Paris, on the Covington and Lexington Railroad, about 80 or 90 miles.
If we advance with our small force into Bath, Montgomery, and Bourbon, the railroad would in two or three days enable the enemy to concentrate an overwhelming force to meet us. The transportation on Sandy River by steamboats from Catlettsburg is only available to the enemy in high water.
The only offensive operations we could effect would be by rapid marches of cavalry, in concert with our friends, into Bath, Montgomery, Bourbon, and Harrison; first, burning the bridges on the Covington and Lexington Railroad; second, opening the way for our friends to join our army and giving us civil and political strength, third, in opening a road for the fat hogs, bacon, and fat cattle of Kentucky.
It is my deliberate judgment, from a pretty accurate knowledge of the topography of the country and the party strength of our friends in front of our army, that with the prompt aid of 1,000 cavalry trained to mountain service we could accomplish the important objects above stated. But the work can only be done by the utmost expenditure.
When I left camp on the 20th the thing was certain if we had the force. I believe now it is practicable, but in a month from this time it would be unavailable.
The actual or threatened movement above indicated, even if it failed, would attract and engage a very large force of the enemy, and if we were faced by a superior force we could make good our stand and defense in the mountains of Sandy.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Major, and Brigadier, Commissary C. S. Army.
Camp Beauregard, January 2, 1862.
Major GEORGE WILLIAMSON,
SIR: I obey the dispatch received last evening, and will start my march towards Union City this evening. I delayed yesterday after