War of the Rebellion: Serial 018 Page 0288 OPERATIONS IN N. VA., W. VA., AND MD. Chapter XXIV.

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that the country in that vicinity is peaceful and quiet. He estimates the forces at Abingdon and the Salt Works at 7,000, and at Liberty Hill from 3,000 to 4,000. Owing to the difficulty of supplying Colonel Cranor in his present position I have directed him to move two-thirds of his force to Prestonburg, leaving the remainder at Piketon, where it now is.

J. C. FREMONT,

Major-General, Commanding.

HEADQUARTERS, ARMY IN FIELD,

Camp ten miles east of Moorefield, Va., May 29, 1862.

Brigadier-General COX,

Flat Top Mountain:

Jackson's, Johnson's, and Ewell's forces operating near the Maryland line. The number of rebel forces cannot be great to protect the Tennessee and Virginia Railroad. It is difficult to give positive orders from such a distance, as your own knowledge of the rebel forces and their position in your front must ultimately direct your course of operation. But, in the judgment of the commanding general, the present moment seems to be the most favorable to dash with your combined forces upon the railroad, to destroy the New River Bridge and as much of the track as can be done without endangering the forces under your command, and then fall back upon your present position. In this movement it would be vital importance to march unencumbered with any baggage, and if need be, to live on fresh meat and salt alone.

Operator at end of line will convey the order of the general to commanding officer to send forward this dispatch with all possible speed.

ALBERT TRACY,

Colonel and Assistant Adjutant-General.

Numbers 12.] HEADQUARTERS,

Flat Top, May 29, 1862.

Colonel TRACY,

Assistant Adjutant-General:

No change in this vicinity. I think it best not to advance from here until the condition of affairs is restored in the Shenandoah, as the road to our rear would be too open.

J. D. COX,

Brigadier-General.

FLAT TOP, May 29, 1862.

Colonel GEORGE CROOK,

Commanding Third Brigade, Lewisburg:

Matters are in such condition in the northern part of the department that even if we had transportation it would not do to advance beyond Lewisburg till we hear further from General Fremont. I will advise you as soon as I hear what has been done to regain the ground lost by General Banks. I expect to give you an extra train of twenty mule