I am sure that the case calls for offensive action in some particular instance, nor then beyond the reach of immediate support. The reports would make the enemy far outnumber us-say triple our force. This I receive with great allowances for exaggeration, but then enough would remain to make this policy imperative in view of our supplies, had not your orders fixed my course of action beyond question. I shall await the arrival of the Second Brigade with much impatience-I mean with eager hope-and it may well be that I can act in accordance with good policy and your orders.
7. The roads to the enemy are three: First. By the Narrows, in the face of the enemy, and with flanks exposed to fire from the right bank of the river. Second. By taking the road by French's Mill to the mouth of Wolf Creek, going down the road in the valley of that creek, or river. French's Mill is 5 miles in our rear, on the Princeton road, and the distance from there to Wolf Creek is 3 1/2 miles; thence 4 miles down the creek to its mouth. Third. One and a half miles in our advance up the New River there is a ravine called Limestone run, leading to the top of the mountain; thence an easy access to as table-land giving full view of the enemy's camp, both above and below Wolf Creek. This approach on the left of the enemy is very difficult, scarcely a path, and that very rough and steep even for footmen, barely possible for mules, but not carrying howitzers even if unopposed. If Crook comes up the New River from Lewisburg he will be precisely in the right place to command the enemy at the Narrows and mouth of Wolf Creek. The point from which to do this, I learn, is a bit of table-land just above Forsyth's Ferry and opposite the Narrows, just below and overlooking the breastworks of the enemy.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
E. P. SCAMMON,
Colonel, Commanding First Provisional Brigade.
MAY 14, 1862.
Colonel E. P. SCAMMON,
Commanding First Provisional Brigade:
SIR: It appears that the party sent for forage this morning, being a detail of 50 men, when about 5 miles below camp on New River, being informed that there was a rebel force below, the captain in command ordered the column to retire. Having proceeded some 2 miles toward camp he discovered some few infantry of our brigade on the opposite side of the river closely pursued by the rebels. The captain dismounted his men to go to their relief. He succeeded in doing so, and some of the men perceived a force of cavalry coming up in his rear and some gong around to intercept their return to camp. The number is not known, but they were informed that the number was 500 by citizens. At this time Captain Scott ordered a return to camp. In doing this they were fired upon about 2 miles below. I understand Captain Scott is safe, and will make a report as soon as he arrives.
Various rumors are brought, but this is as near as I can get to the general report. I am afraid the infantry who report it a mistake were not as far down as Captain Scott.
I have the honor to be, your obedient servant,
J. C. PAXTON,