break our communications with the valley of the Mississippi. Therefore I halted at Jeffersonville, Va., and waited until Trigg and the battery arrived, and planted them at Claypole's Hill, in Tazewell County, to cover the roads leading to Jeffersonville and to the salt-works from the Sandy River region. Of course I should have called out the militia if I had supposed I had authority to do so, but I investigated the law and brought I had not such authority without an order from the War Department.
I communicated to the Department my views and informed it of the necessity of re-enforcements to make safe what I was trying to protect. Then I hurried in person to Pound Gap after the Kentucky force which was in retreat, and which I was afraid might disperse. As I went along I found Colonel Moore had not yet moved from Abingdon. I repeated the order to him to hurry forward what he had to Pound Gap. Arrived at the Clinch River, I found the Kentucky mounted men belonging to Williams. I organized them into a battalion at once, supplied them will tents and camp equipage, and directed them to return to Pound Gap.
On the way I passed a company of Virginians who said they were going forward to Pound Gap, as I supposed being part of Moore's command. When I arrived at Pound Gap I found Colonel Williams with about 600 raw men, who were very thinly clad, many barefooted, a very few with blankets, no overcoats, a parcel of flint-lock, old-fashioned muskets, and squirrel rifles, altogether a sorry sight, discontented at retreating and daily deserting, sometimes fifteen of a night, as perfect militia and as raw as could be gathered on the continent. In Pound Gap I found the Virginia battalion, which was to form (by combination with Colonel Moore's companies from Abingdon) the Virginia Twenty-ninth, but I found that they were under the command of a Major Thompson, an ex-officer of the U. S. Mounted Rifle Regiment, who had been in command of them while under General Zollicoffer, and who was utterly ignored by the order of organization for the Twenty-ninth Virginia that I had received. I found these men claimed to be raised for a special service, and were only to be used in Scott, Lee, and Wise Counties, Virginia, to defend the mountain passes, and they insisted on these conditions of enlistment, and both officers and men refused to be marched into Kentucky or to change their term to one of general service. They were averse to being put under command of Colonel Moore at any rate. What was to be done? I made known the fact to the Department and even sent Major Thompson to Richmond to see and to be seen, and sent the printed conditions of their enlistment along with him, and postponed executing the order to organize the Twenty-ninth from such materials until further orders. The Department never has to this day noticed the matter, and there it stands. I have never organized the Twenty-ninth Virginia under Colonel Moore.
I found that two of these companies then in Thompson's battalion were not embraced in the order touching the organization of the Twenty-ninth, but that the two which were embraced in it were out in Wise County. I saw Lieutenant-Colonel Leigh looking them up. One he found and secured; the other ran away and has never been recovered.
While affairs were thus I heard General Nelson had gone down the Sandy, and was leaving the country open for which I was destined. I at once made a forward movement with what I had-Williams' men and the mounted battalion. I ordered Trigg and Jeffress' battery to move forward by the Louisa Fork of the Sandy to join me at Prestonburg. I was at Prestonburg by the 9th of December, and found Trigg