Gauley by about six regiments. This re-enforcement reached Galey about one week since. The enemy's force at Raleigh Court-House, Fayettville, Summerville, Gauely, and its immediate vicinity amounts to about 8,000 men.
I have called out the militia of the following counties, which I am authorized to by letter from the Governor, dated 13th instant, subsequent to his proclamation of the 10th: The militia of Pulaski, Montgomery, Giles, and Mercer, to rendezvous at Peterstow; the militia of Greenbier, Monroe, Craig, Alleghany, Roanoke, and Botetourt, to rendezvous at Lewisburg.
What force this will give me, and whether the militia is armed or not I can't say. The militia of Greenbrier, or a portion, has refused to obey the call. I hope the other counties may prove more loyal.
Hoping that the small force in this country would be re-enforced, i determined, on my arrival here, to take up a position in advance of Lewisburg, on the Muddy Creek Mountain, and commenced throwing up works at that point, but it will be impossible to defend this line with my small force, and I shall be compelled to fall back beyond the Greenbrier Bridge, where I propose to make a stand.
To defend the approaches to Dublin Depot, Virginia and Tennessee Railroad, I shall occupy the pass formed by the passage of the New River between Peters and East River Mountain, some 5 miles from Peterstown, and that to Wytheville, by occupying the point where the Princeton and Wytheville road crosses East River Mountain.
The enemy during the winter completed his preparations for an advance by throwing forward a large amount of supplies of all kinds to his depot at Gauley. The condition of the roads is now the only barrier to his successfully advancing on this route or on the routes leading to the Virginia and Tennessee Railroad.
From your knowledge of this country you can appreciate the position I am now in with my small force. I know that the commanding general is much pressed for additional forces at all points. I only request that I may be advised as early as possible what I my expect, so that my plans may be formed accordingly.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Richmond, Va., March 19, 1862.
General JOSEPH E. JOHNSTON,
Commanding Army of Northern Virginia:
GENERAL: I inclose for your consideration a report on the defenses of the Rappahanock, prepared at my request by Captain Rives, Chief of Engineer Bureau. The present point occupied to arrest its navigation, Fort Lowry, is recommended to be abandoned. It was originally selected as the lowest point on the river that could be defended with guns then available, and was intended to arrest the ascent of marauding vessels. To render it tenable under present circumstances it seems would require more time and labor than could probably be devoted to it, and the selection of a new dependent somewhat on your intention and ability to hold the line of the Rappahannock. Mount Taliaferro would appear to be an important point to hold if Fredericksburg is maintained. In addition, the river could be obstructed below Layton