War of the Rebellion: Serial 031 Page 1024 OPERATIONS IN N.VA.,W.VA.,MD., AND PA. Chapter XXXIII.

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closely the action and movement of the enemy. I am pretty well satisfied now that their numbers are not really so great as they were represented to be, and I feel confident they will make any effort to advance in force upon the railroad this winter. If, therefore, you choose to withdraw all the force from the mountains, except those regiments at New River, and two or three at Lewisburg, it would be perfectly safe to do so.

I trust you will pardon anything in this communication with which fault may be found, and believe that it is at least meant well.

I am, sir, with highest respect, your obedient servant,


Major-General, Commanding Virginia State Line.

HDQRS. DEPARTMENT OF WESTERN VIRGINIA, Narrows of New River, Giles County, W. Va., November 19, 1862.

(Received November 22.)

[General S. COOPER:]

GENERAL: I assumed the command of this army, in obedience to your orders, and at once proceeded to visit the different camps, and to look into the condition of the different departments. The army is little better than a mob, the country almost a desert, and the business departments require a complete overhauling. I found General Jenkins' mounted men at Lewisburg in a perfect state of chaos, but the general is not to blame, as he had no chance to organize or discipline his men. Besides the Eighth Virginia Cavalry, there are forty-two companies of mounted men, chiefly raised under authorities from General Loring, and I have formed them into three regiments and two battalions, which was the nearest approximation to the authorities granted that could be made. One of these battalions, Colonel Dunn's Partisan Rangers, mustered into the provisional army for the war. These different regiments and battalions have been placed for the present under the command of captains until I shall be informed whether the Department will allow them to elect field officers. the interests of the service require that this point should be decided at once. General Jenkins will visit Richmond in a day or two on these and other matters. I hope there will be at least one good military man among the field appointments of each regiment.

There are present for duty in the infantry and artillery of this command, including non-commissioned officers and privates, 4,869 men; absent with and without leave, 2,707. I have as yet no report of the exact number of absentees from the mounted corps.

Colonel Carr, the inspector-general, has been sent to the cavalry camps to inspect and report. His report will be due in time to be sent on. I shall at once take steps to bring in absentees, deserters, and conscripts. I would be obliged to you to furnish me immediately with the boundaries of this military department. The generals who had heretofore commanded it have left no records whatever - neither books, papers, blanks, nor stationery. I have sent agents in different directions to purchase forage, and to collect it on the line of the Virginia and Tennessee Railroad,a nd am building barges to float it down New River to this point, I have been arranging with General Jenkins to dismount all his men except one battalion, and send his horses toward the line of North Carolina, where forage is said to be abundant. Agents have been dispatched to secure it. This battalion will be kept for picket and scouting