geographical district this side of Pound Gap within which I commanded, but it was impossible to stay there, because there is nothing to eat for man or horse within 20 miles of it on any side. I had great trouble to get my train and regiments through it into Virginia. I left the "special-service" men in Pound Gap, and have yet a good many sick at Gladesville, in Wise County. My regiments have had typhoid pneumonia, measles, mumps, and are woefully cut down by disease.
This history will post you as to my past troubles and exertions, my hope, and my disappointment.
Two things are plain: First. Kentucky has not been penetrated, and her people in my section of the State have not had a chance to join me. Second. I have had no force to get to them; and if my entry into the State effected nothing of consequence the fault has not been mine. No man could have gone farther than I did with the force I had, or could have effected more, staid longer, or held his head up better. None could have come out more successfully than I did or have lost less. I see no reason to repine at anything I have done or left undone. I am, pro tanto, self-satisfied.
You will perceive from the facts in the case that I am embarrassed, now that I am over in Virginia, from the fact that I have no country in charge, unless it be the frontier from Pound Gap to the Tug Fork of the Sandy, and when military operations leave that, I do not know when I am or am not in somebody else's department. Also, I do not know what is meant when you write "of the counties in which you [I] are operating." I have attempted nothing since my Kentucky experiment. I have no force to attempt anything with. I will try and defend with the force under my charge so far as the country can be defended; do anything and go anywhere you say, provided I am not expected to become part of a corps d'armee or division under some other officer in charge of a division or brigade. I cannot do that, and will prefer to retire from the service altogether.
I am gratified and thankful to Mr. Davis for saying to me that he will serve me to the extent of his power, and hopes the day is not distant when I shall be possessed of the means of carrying of State-rights flag over my native State. Such an assurance from him is a world of comfort to me, and so implicitly do I rely on what he promises, that I will bear up under a great deal while waiting for its fulfillment.
Your letter makes me apprehensive that, when ready, you expect General Smith to take charge of a column of operations in Kentucky, of which I am to form a part. That will be a great blunder, and I had just as well say at once that I hope such is not the idea you entertain or a service you expect from me. That duty induced me to enter the service, and whenever the time comes that we can enter the State effectively I shall expect the promise made to me to be fulfilled, and upon a basis which will not overslaugh me by anybody else. It is the point of my ambition; without it the field would be aimless to me, though my heart is in the cause; but the cause at home is the cause in which I feel most interest, for it involves the fires upon my own altars and the rights to which all Kentucky was born. I belong to the Confederacy, but I am a Kentuckian over all and above all, and look to her with more than filial affection. There are currents adverse to me, as well you know there are in every State against prominent men, and it is only just to myself, when acting with friends, to declare at once that I must not be impeded by such when the moment of action arrives, and I am writing to you as to my friend to let you know how these things are. Had the President understood the current in Kentucky better than he did,