Fincastle, Tenn., May 3, 1862.
MAJOR:Since their repulse at Cumberland Gap, on the 29th ultimo, the enemy have made no demonstration at that point. My intelligence is that they are removing the obstructions in the Big Creek Gap road west of Fincastle. With my effective force here (1,500) I shall operate through the mountain on their rear, which is beyond support from the main body at Cumberland Ford.
Small as my command at this point is, it is all the disposable force in the department, and was collected from every direction to co-operate with General Stevenson at Cumberland Gap.
The Georgia regiments ordered to this department were weak when reported; they have since been so reduced by measles, mumps, and typhoid fever that they do not average an effective strength of 300.
Besides their numerical weakness, they are disheartened by sickness and its effects. The troops lately raised in Tennessee are in the same condition.
When my intelligence became conclusive that the enemy were concentrating for an attack on Cumberland Gap, I telegraphed General Marshall and asked his co-operation. He replied that his command, all told, did not number 1,000, and that he was inclined to doubt the accuracy of my information, having been so often deceived himself, &c. In its present condition I can expect no assistance from General Marshall's command.
Whilst the people of East Tennessee believe my force to be large and effective, to the department alone have I exposed its weakness and inefficiency.
I shall resist the enemy's entrance into East Tennessee with all the means at my disposal, but with the people in my midst enlisted against me, and with a force of at least four to one, more efficient and better equipped, it will be alone assistance from on High that enables us to maintain possession of the department.
In case of any irretrievable disaster, I have given instructions to the chiefs of departments for the quiet and speedy removal of all their stores.
Respectfully, your obedient servant,
E. KIRBY SMITH,
Major T. A. WASHINGTON,
A. A. G., Richmond, Va.
No. 9. Report of J. F. Belton, Acting Assistant Adjutant-General, C. S. Army.
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF EAST TENNESSEE,
Knoxville, Tenn., June 11, 1862.
Allston has just reported that enemy fired on his pickets at Wilson's Gap yesterday morning. Sent a company up to support, and heard at 2 o'clock they had some fighting and been driven back. Ashby then went up with parts of three companies to ascertain the state of affairs, but had not reported at 9 p.m., when courier left.
J. F. BELTON,
Acting Assistant Adjutant-General.
Major-General E. KIRBY SMITH,