the river, the position you speak of becomes a most important second line. It is to be established after that upon the river.
Let the intrenchments upon the river be completed immediately according to Captain Munther's plan. No scouts or picket service will protect you without them. Then construct the fortifications on the heights beyond. Put all the negroes upon the works you can command, but do not allow them to remain unfinished for a day. You have no other security. These will secure against everything except overwhelming forces, of which, with our army in your front, you are not in danger.
The enemy near you cannot be numerous. There are no rebel troops in the valley and only guerrillas in your vicinity. If you are fortified they will not attack you at all. A few men can defend the works, and nearly your whole force will be free to attack them. No better opportunity is offered for active service. Every men, soldier or citizen, found in arms or protecting those in arms, should be captured.
The paroled men you refer to should receive no favor. These guerrillas are outlaws. It is not recognized warfare, and no engagement with them should be regarded. If not put upon duty, such paroled men will be held in camp without favor. It is undeniable that the parole is sham, in many cases procured by our men and given by the enemy to enable them to escape the service. Put them at work on the intrenchments or in other service not military, if you please.
In the arrest of citizens you are allowed to discharge them upon parole or on such securities as you may deem proper. Prisoners of war ought not to be paroled without authority. In regard to the rebel prisoners paroled, make a written statement, naming them and stating their condition, and specific orders will be given in each case.
The establishment of the hospital is a necessary measure. You will find, I think, that the camp, if well ventilated and policed, is better for the sick than the buildings in town. Of that your medical officers will judge.
If you post is properly picketed it will be very rarely that your troops will be required to lay on their arms. That ought to be avoided whenever possible, as it demoralizes and dispirits the men and leads them to believe all alarms unfounded.
In conclusion, complete your fortifications as soon as possible. Tools will be forwarded. Thanks for your report.
Very truly yours, as always,
N. P. BANKS,
Near Sperryville, Va., August 5, 1862-11.30 a. m.
Major General H. W. HALLECK,
Commanding U. S. Army:
Some four weeks since I directed General Cox, who has about 11,000 men in Kanawha Valley, to intrench 2,400 at or near the mouth of Gauley, so as to cover the valley of Kanawha below that point, and to hold himself in readiness with the remainder of his force, about 8,000 strong, to move forward in the direction of Staunton. A large part of the force which then confronted him has joined Jackson since, under the command of Loring.
I propose, with your consent, to direct Cox to move forward at once to