War of the Rebellion: Serial 029 Page 0105 Chapter XXXII. CARTER'S RAID INTO E. TENN., AND SW. VA.

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about 60 miles square, the most of it principally engaged in trying to keep from starvation the horses so necessary to service in this part of the Confederacy. I felt extremely embarrassed by the condition of affairs, but soon arranged in my own mind a theory upon which to meet the enemy, to learn, his intentions and movements, and to ascertain the data by which to regulate my own movements. Several officers of these commands were in Abingdon that night on business, and I had them aroused and summoned to my quarters to receive orders. I at once sent to Colonel Slemp, commanding the Sixty-fourth Virginia Infantry, in camp 1 miles from Bristol, the following dispatch by telegraph:

ABINGDON, VA., December 29, 1862-10 p.m.

Colonel SLEMP:

I have a dispatch from Larmer that 4,000 of the enemy's cavalry are marching on Bristol, and were within 45 miles of it to-day at 1 p.m. Be on the alert. Communicate immediately to Lieutenant-Colonel Clay, at the Three Springs, and direct him to throw out scouts to learn the movements of the enemy, which you will immediately communicate to me at this place.

H. MARSHALL,

Brigadier-General.

Also, I sent to Wytheville the following:

ABINGDON, VA., December 29, 1862-10 p.m.

Captains JEFFRESS and DAVIDSON:

I have just received a dispatch that 4,000 of the enemy's cavalry were in 45 miles of Bristol at 1 p.m. this day, marching on that place. Your batteries must come to this place immediately.

H. MARSHALL,

Brigadier-General.

In fifteen minutes I received the following:

WYTHEVILLE, VA., December 29, 1862.

GENERAL: Your dispatch received. I shall start the horses by land, and await railroad transportation for the battery, &c., Let me know immediately if you can send down any cars. Reply immediately.

W. C. JEFFRESS,

Captain, Commanding Battery.

I instantly returned this reply:

CAPTAIN: Dispatch received. Reserve your harness to come with guns and men. Start horses immediately. Davidson's battery, if at Wytheville, to come also.

H. MARSHALL,

Brigadier-General.

I sent this shortly afterward, referring to same subject:

ABINGDON, VA., December 29, 1862-near midnight.

Mr. DODAMEAD, Lynchburg, Va.:

It is very important to transport Jeffress's and Davidson's batteries (ten pieces of artillery with caissons and carriages) to Abingdon to-night; also their companies, say 125 men. Can I rely on you to furnish the transportation at Wytheville?

H. MARSHALL,

Brigadier-General.

I may as well say here that the reply to this dispatch was delivered to me next day about 2 p.m., as follows:

LYNCHBURG, December 30, 1862.

General HUMPHREY MARSHALL:

Message not received until 10 th a.m. Have trains now loading at Wytheville.

T. DODAMEAD.