The general moved for the purpose of cutting off the enemy, who at the time was between Lewisburg and Covington, as we were then informed, and if the found his force sufficient to attack him wherever he could find him. This was commenced before my arrival. Subsequently I received the telegram inclosed, which I sent the general, together with my letter, also inclosed, and his reply. He explains in his communication why it was that he attacked the enemy at Lewisburg, with an account of his withdrawal.
I have no further information with regard to this affair to send you. I shall leave to-day for General Heth's command, and will repair the damage done as far as I can with the force I have. I regret we cannot get additional strength. I think the enemy, from all I can learn, much larger than Heth estimates him. If possible more troops should be sent. It will take time to raise the rangers. I have been exerting myself to effect the object ever since my arrival.
With respect, I have the honor to be, your obedient servant,
W. W. LORING,
Major W. H. TAYLOR,
[Inclosure Numbers 1.]
HDQRS. DEPARTMENT OF SOUTHWEST VIRGINIA,
Giles Court-House, May 21, 1862.
GENERAL: I have the honor to inclose you the within communication and telegram,* just received, and I send them to you for you information.
Unless you can form a junction with the forces mentioned your present direction may bring you rather near the enemy at Lewisburg, which, if true, as has been represented, has been strongly re-enforced.
For the want of information of the country over which you are now passing it is impossible for me to say at what point it would be best for you to move upon in order to communicate, and, if possible, combine, with the forces of Johnson. Unless more definite information can be obtained of the strength of the enemy at Lewisburg and the movements of Johnson's forces would it not be well to strike the road leading to Salem, in order to await further information and protect the railroad at Bonsack's and Salem, and also to enable you to return here in case it is threatened.
I give you this opinion more as a suggestion, because of your better knowledge of the country and means of information.
I shall leave here to-day for Newbern, and shall be pleased to hear from you constantly. I have not up to this time written to the Department at Richmond, but shall to-day write them of the necessity of sending additional troops to guard the lines from Salem to Bonsack's.
Respectfully, your obedient servant,
W. W. LORING,
*Telegram not found.