sent Colonel Chalmers up; he has but 200 guns. I cannot reach Columbus until to-morrow evening. Three o'clock the gunboats in sight of Florence.
B. F. CHEATHAM,
Brigadier-General, C. S. Army.
GLADESVILLE, WISE COUNTY, VIRGINIA,
February 8, 1862.
General S. COOPER,
Adjutant and Inspector General C. S. Army:
GENERAL: In obedience to your orders my force has fallen back to Pound Gap from the points selected by me on the Kentucky River for occupation.
This country is more difficult than the Kentucky side of the mountains. Corn is at this village hauled 30 miles for common uses, and is selling at $2 per bushel, or $10 per barrel. I have therefore suffered the two Virginia regiments to pass behind Clinch River, and have directed Colonel Smimms to forage his mounted battalion in the county of Scott or Lee, some 30 miles from this place. The Kentucky regiment of Colonel Williams and Ratcliffe's company I have directed Colonel Williams and Ratcliffe's company I have directed to come no farther in this direction than the Pound (4 miles this side of Pound Gap), and I have given liberty to the colonel, should he prefer it, to occupy the Kentucky side of the mountains, in Letcher, Harlan, or Pike, keeping these two points in view; 1st, subsistence, its possibility and cheapness; 2nd, the protection of Pound Gap and Stone Gap. The head of the Poor Fork of the Cumberland is just against the Stone Gap on the other side. The Pound River flows from this side of the same point. I learn that wagons pass from that part of the Cumberland through here to the Salt Works near Abingdon.
In fact, general, each day opens to me a more minute acquaintance with the frontier, and persuades me that I must examine it far more critically than has yet been done by any one to determine accurately what is required for its military defense. I shall improve the time during which I shall be detained in this vicinity by putting a substantial defense at Pound Gap. With little comparative expense a fortification to hold 2,000 men can be established there. I will visit Stone Gap and make careful reconnaissances of the position. I will observe, though, that this country, like all mountainous countries, has much more feasibility for military passages than unskilled men give it credit for. I have seen no position from this to Paintsville (unless it shall prove so on the Cumberland Range) that cannot be turned within 10 miles of its center.
Major Bonner is preparing accurate maps of this section so far as we have gathered knowledge, which I trust will by very acceptable to you, and which I hope to bring with me to the Department.
I have understood my official dispatch containing an account of the battle at the fork of Middle Creek never reached you. Is this true?
I hear the enemy is playing upon London, Ky. I mention it lest it may not come to you from Cumberland Gap, but do not vouch for any accuracy in the rumor.
I am, very respectfully, &c.,