thirteen different points twenty-two companies in all. Of these probably not more than seven or eight will be available for active operations in the field, the remaining companies being absolutely necessary for the protection of the railroad and stores, and to keep in check the mounted guerrillas, now infesting Greenbrier, Braxton, Webster, Pocahontas, Calhoun, Gilmer, and other counties, and who are reported as increasing. As we advance other companies of cavalry will have to be left in our rear.
Reports from the several district commanders show that even of the force at my disposal but a very small portion is fit for active duty; the condition of the arms and horses is reported to be bad, and the discipline very imperfect. Every effort has been made, and will continue to be made, to improve its condition, but under the most favorable circumstances this is a work of time, and cavalry is needed for immediate use.
I have been informed unofficially that the cavalry force in General Blenker's division amounts to only 600. When this is added to the troops now in the department our force will still be far too small for the objects desired.
I regard it therefore as of vital importance to the success of the plans we have in view that at least two regiments of cavalry, thoroughly drilled and equipped, should be ordered to report to me forthwith.
Respectfully, your obedient servant,
J. C. FREMONT,
SUMMERVILLE, W. VA.,
April 16, 1862.
Captain G. M. BASCOM,
Assistant Adjutant-General, U. S. Army, Charleston, W. Va.:
CAPTAIN: I have the honor to inform you that Major Andrews, with the required number of men, leaves in the morning for Addison by the Cranberry road; will arrive at the former place at the specified time. I have but little hope of the expedition accomplishing anything, for, in the first place, it is impossible for any body of troops to march on them without their being apprised of it, and it is impossible to force them to fight unless they want to, for they carry little or no baggage, and can live on little or nothing. When approached they disintegrate an hide in the mountains until all danger is over, when they again reassemble for fresh depredations. In the second place, the large majority of these bushwhackers are kept in Greenbier County and Lewisburg, and they only sally out by times to Webster and vicinity to commit depredations, and chances are that they will be back in Greenbier before our troops on the road that passes Coal Knob, some 18 miles form Lewisburg. My idea was, if allowed to take Lewisburg, to send part of my regiment on the Wilderness road with baggage, &c., and to take the remainder myself via Coal Knob (which I could do unbeknown to them), keep them all ahead of me, and those I did not kill wouldn't stop running until they got east of the Blue Ridge. Besides, in going this route I could either come in rear of this fortified ridge or go to Lewisburg by by-roads, and not go on the pike at all; also could send a force by a by-road to Greenbrier Bridge and cut off their retreat before attacking them at Lewinsburg.