War of the Rebellion: Serial 029 Page 0106 KY., MID. AND E. TENN., N. ALA., AND SW. VA.

Search Civil War Official Records


The train aforesaid brought on the batteries the next night to Bristol under the following order:



Numbers 165.

December 30, 1862-6.45 p.m.

Captain Jeffress' and Captain Davidson's batteries, if they arrive at Abingdon to-night, will proceed direct to Bristol without delay.

By order of Brigadier General H. Marshall, commanding:


Assistant Adjutant-General.

On the night of the 29th, after sending the dispatches set forth above, I sent to Major-General Samuel Jones the following telegram:

ABINGDON, VA., December 29, 1862.

Major-General SAMUEL JONES, Dublin Depot:

GENERAL: Dispatches just received from Captain Larmer, of Trigg's rangers, from Pattonsville, Scott County, Virginia, announce 4,000 cavalry of the enemy in 45 miles of Bristol to-day at 1 p.m., marching on that point. I have ordered my batteries at Wytheville to Abingdon, and shall order the Georgia battalion to fall back to Saltville immediately. A regiment of infantry and a battalion of horse of mine 4 miles from Bristol; one battalion of infantry here; one regiment of cavalry in front of Hyter's Gap, cover Saltville.



I aroused Lieutenant-Colonel [M. T.] Pryor, of the Fourth Kentucky Cavalry, and sent him to his camp that night (29th), distant 22 miles from Abingdon, with orders immediately to throw out heavy cavalry pickets to Russell Old Court-House, to Hansonville, and to the mouth of Dump's Creek, with flying vedettes from those pickets to move some 8 or 10 miles down the roads leading in the direction of Estillville and Osborne's Ford, on Clinch River, so as to discover, if possible by morning, on what road the enemy was in fact moving, and whether his main force was threatening Saltville, Lebanon, or Abingdon. He was instructed on his arrival at his camp immediately to dispatch a mounted courier to Major [A.] Leyden, of the Georgia artillery, at Jeffersonville, with orders to conduct his battalion without any delay to Saltville, and to take position so as to defend the salt works. At the same time I ordered Major Thomas Johnson, of Kentucky, to repair without delay to his camp, at Kingsport, Tenn., and to fall back upon Clay's camp at the Three Springs, so as to unite with the troops near Bristol in the defense of the place and the railroad. Major Witcher's battalion was at Chatham Hill. He was absent on account of wounds, from which he had not yet wholly recovered; his ranking captain was in Abingdon that night, but could not be found. He was found next morning and the following order was delivered to him:

ABINGDON, VA., December 30, 1862.

Captain Harman will move Witcher's battalion with all practicable speed via Saltville down Poor Valley to the little Moccasin Gap. Arrived there, throw scouts out to Hanson's, and open communication with Giltner. If the enemy is advancing by Boyd's to Russell Old Court-House, let him proceed, but advise me of his approach. Reach your post by daybreak to-morrow at least, and inform me when you arrive.



Thus, sir, you will perceive that, receiving the dispatch from Captain Larmer, I had at once advised every one with whom I had any military connection of the approach of the enemy before I slept, and had assigned to my troops, scattered over nearly 60 miles, the duties which would