of south 35 east, reaching a settlement about 5 p. m., at a place called the Upper Sinks, on the head-waters of Greenbrier, and 11 miles distant from Camp Bartow.
On the morning of the 12th, 6 of my horses were unable to proceed farther, and were left with a careful man to bring them away in eight them away in eight or ten days, the riders agreeing to follow on foot. the day was dark and rainy when I set out for Camp Bartow, relying on guide and compass to get through the wilderness. Before noon my guide was bewildered, and we were lost in one of the darkest and most impenetrable pine forests of the Alleghany. After accomplishing but 4 miles, I was compelled to retrace my steps to our old camp at the Sinks.
On the morning of the 13th, the sun shone out bright and cloudless, but I knew it was then too late to go to Camp Bartow, so I set out to cross the Alleghany by a path that strikes the head of the North Fork about the Pendleton and Highland line. At 3 p. m. I emerged from the wilderness, sending 2 men in advance to gain intelligence of the enemy. From a citizen and a prisoner, a few hours before discharged by Milroy at Hightown, in Highland, I ascertained that he had that morning fallen back toward Camp Bartow in great haste, to intercept me, sending his cavalry down toward Huntersville to head me off if I should have passed, and that Colonel Latham, with 500 infantry and two field guns and about 30 cavalry, was at Circleville, 6 miles below, on the lookout for me in that direction, and that his scouts had just gone down the road from Crab Bottom. I also learned that about 1,300 men had moved a few hours before from the forks of waters down the South Branch toward Franklin. All these statements were afterward found to be true. I halted an hour at the first house, and gave my weary horses the first grain they had tasted since the 9th, and about sunset struck into a path leading across a high mountain in rear of Latham, and about 10 p. m. I came upon a camp of the 1,300 men who had gone down South branch. The fires were still burning, but the men had left a few hours before. I followed them toward Franklin until I reached a gap, which enabled me to cross over to the South Fork, where I halted at 3 o'clock in the morning, and then learned the facts in regard to the fight my infantry under Lieutenant-Colonel [R. L.] Doyle had had with Kelley's forces on the morning of the 9th, of which he has sent you a report.
On the 14th I reached August a Springs, through North River Gap.
I know that I have trespassed greatly on your time, and feel conscious that in results this expedition is comparatively insignificant; but the original object of the undertaking was so important that a failure to accomplish it, when seemingly within my reach, requires, to justify it, a full statement of all the facts. These i have given you, ad briefly as possible. Had I been informed of Milroy's movement s before I left Hardy, I should never have crossed the Alleghany. As it was, I think I should have succeeded but for the snow-storm, which lasted three days, and caused much suffering to men and horses. Our escape, under all the circumstances, without the loss of a man, is felt and acknowledged by all to be truly providential. except the identical route we came, there is no other pass in which I would not have encountered largely superior forces, and almost certainly have lost all my horses, even if my men had escaped on foot. I am now informed that every avenue of escape from circleville to New Creek was strongly guarded by the joint forces of Milroy and Kelley, and that the former fell back from Highland to insure our capture and protect his train. If you are familiar with that country you will not be surprised to learn that it will be several weeks before my horses regain their strength and vigor.