Major Thompson there was nothing there but two or three disabled wagons and a few bushels of salt and something of that sort.
The enemy paid more than everything he obtained in the exposition he made of his own plans. I have no doubt now he means to advance by the Louisa road upon Tazewell, and is acting in conjunction with columns moving up New River and Guyandotte River. I have information from the interior, likely to be well posted, that the Sandy column is to be 7,500 strong, and that on the Kanawha 15,000, the latter being actually in motion. I suppose that a small column, probably under General Cox, is on the Guyandotte.
Under all the lights before me, and considering that I have nearly no force, I determined to prepare the militia; then when the enemy moved on Pound Gap I determined to put the militia into the field. I inclose the orders I issued for this purpose. The General Commanding will see that I have gone somewhat far in attempting to compel service out of Kentuckians who have fled from home, but I hope I shall not be thwarted in this purpose. I would put them into a camp, by my conscription, as quickly and as positively as any act I could possibly perform. These fellows have fled from the district in which I am supposed to command in all directions. Many have gone back to Kentucky through Lee County, where the gaps have not been guarded. It is through these channels the enemy has obtained all the information he wanted. They came, violating no order, and would actually visit me. I suspected some and put some in jail. I have five or six in jail now. It is of no use to try them before a court. I cannot get any witnesses against them, but I know their past villainy,and I keep them where they can do no further harm. They are all Kentuckians I have in jail here and at Abingdon. If martial law prevailed they would have been shot or hung, every one of them. I will not weary you with a detail of their crimes.
In coming to Pound Gap the enemy had the best guides-citizens who know every hog-path in the country. I have the names of several who thus officiated-citizens of Virginia. One of my scouts captured a militia captain in Buchanan County actually doing picket duty as a Union man, but he escaped from the men after his arrest; so they reported at headquarters.
Several citizens of Wise County joined the enemy in his late raid on Pound Gap, and I learn that they are making up a Union company or two in Wise County, and also some movement is going on of the same sort in Buchanan.
Energetic measures must be adopted to defend this part of the State, and my opinion is that it is folly do delay. I advise the declaration of martial law over the counties north of the railroad but at all events in the counties of Lee, Wise, Buchanan, McDowell, and Wyoming; these constituting the border between us and the enemy.
In parts of this county the militia refuse to turn out. I ordered the colonel to send a guard and bring them to the muster. When I march those away who have turned out, I propose to detach an officer of militia with a party of me, whose exclusive duty it shall be to catch the others and send them to camp, so as to let the people know that the defense of the country is a duty they cannot avoid. This is the levy en masse, and he who evades it should be compelled. Unless I am overruled I shall enforce the call I have made to such an extent as to draw out the whole military strength of this section of the first class (from eighteen to forty-five), but the display of arms is pitiful. The militia have comparatively no arms. There is not one in twenty who has arms, yet