the mountains, 35 miles above Cumberland Gap, and marching through Lee County, Virginia, on Bristol. This is one argument for your fighting.
J. E. JOHNSTON,
JACKSON, December 31, 1862.
Lieut. Gen. E. KIRBY SMITH,
Your dispatch received. Concentrate all the troops you can. Telegraph General Bragg and Major General Sam. Jones in Western Virginia.
J. E. JOHNSTON,
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF WESTERN VIRGINIA, Dublin, December 31, 1862.
General S. COOPER,
Adjutant and Inspector-General, Richmond:
General Marshall reports that a brigade of the enemy's cavalry, estimated from 2,000 to 4,000, passed Pendleton Gap on the 28th instant, and burned the bridge over Watauga, at Union, East Tenn., yesterday. I have sent all my troops immediately available to General Marshall, to protect the salt works and the road within this department, and, if possible, to intercept the enemy.
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF WESTERN VIRGINIA, Dublin Depot, December 31, 1862.
Hon. JAMES A. SEDDON,
Secretary of War:
SIR: If the troops recently ordered from this department to Richmond are no longer needed for the defense of the capital, or if the general interest of the service will permit, I respectfully ask that they, or an equal number of other troops, be sent to me. All, and more than all, of the troops I found in this department are needed for the defense of the lines we now hold. If I may rely on the comments and tone of the Northern papers, the recent disaster at Fredericksburg and the failure of General Foster's expedition in North Carolina will, in all probability, prevent any other general movement on Richmond this winter. The may in the mean time make attempts to reach and destroy the Virginia and Tennessee Railroad and the salt works in Wythe and Smyth Counties, and also to advance their lines so as to embrace a larger portion of Western Virginia than they now have. This last supposition is strengthened, I think, by the passage of the bill admitting Western Virginia as a separate State into Mr. Lincoln's Government. I am extremely reluctant to leave the counties of Greenbrier and Monroe so exposed as I found them on a recent visit. If the troops I ask for are sent me, I think, from the information I have of the enemy's forces, I can at least protect the railroad and hold the enemy's outposts where they now are. It will be of great advantage to us to have undisputed