and Jamestown, and is not too large for covering General Rosecrans' communications. It may be considered as practically a part of his force, as it is employed in doing what he otherwise would be compelled to detach for; that in Central Kentucky is protecting is the rich part of the State from incursions by way of the southern and eastern borders, and is not, I think, too large for perfect security, so long as the rivers are so low as to be almost anywhere fordable. Humphrey Marshall, at Abingdon, Va., is threatening from that quarter, and is getting up a pack-train of 3,000 mules for the purpose. The force in Eastern Kentucky is for local defense mainly. Bragg is no doubt in front of General Rosecrans, with most of his available force, and if the latter is not strong enough, he should have part of the Central Kentucky forces, though it will expose that section to the enemy's raids.
H. G. WRIGHT,
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE OHIO,
Cincinnati, Ohio, December 18, 1862
Brigadier General GEO. W. CULLUM,
Chief of Staff, &c., Hdqrs. of the Army, Washington, D. C.:
GENERAL: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of the telegram from the General-in-Chief of yesterday's date, asking if there is any further danger in Eastern Kentucky; whether our forces there cannot act to best advantage on the Cumberland,or in concert with General Rosecrans from Nashville, and whether the entire army of Bragg is not in front of Rosecrans; also asking, in general terms, the position and strength of our forces in Kentucky. This dispatch I answered briefly this morning.
I believe the only danger in Eastern and Central Kentucky, embracing that portion of the State lying east of the Louisville and Nashville Railroad, to be from raids in greater or less force from the rebel army now in Tennessee, which, possessing a strong cavalry force, raised in great part in Kentucky and on its border, well acquainted with the country and people, has strong inducements for making such an inroad, and every prospect of success, unless carefully watched. This danger will continue until the Cumberland River rises, and the roads become bad from the heavy rains, which may be looked for at any moment. The Cumberland is fordable at this time at a multitude of places above Nashville,and, indeed, it may be said that horseman can ford it anywhere.
Between Cumberland Gap and the mouth of the Big Sandy, the most practicable route, and, indeed the only one, I believe, for wagons, is through Pound Gap (same as Sounding Gap). This is the route by which Humphrey Marshall entered and left the State in the late raid. He is reported to be making preparations, near Abingdon, for another raid, and that 3,000 pack mules have been collected for the enterprise. His force is variously estimated, the highest being 10,000 men. This report comes to me from various sources, but I do not fully credit it. The most, probably, he designs is to make a raid into the eastern tier of counties for cattle and other supplies.
The rich part of Kentucky is covered by the force under General G. Granger, which is stationed mainly at Danville and Richmond, near the border of the fertile country. The part of the State in front is mountainous and unproductive; and as it has been since the commencement