HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE OHIO,
Cincinnati, Ohio, February 14, 1863.
Brigadier General JULIUS WHITE,
Commanding District of Eastern Kentucky, Louisa, Ky.:
GENERAL: Yours of the 11th instant, giving information, received by you from Colonel Dils, that the rebels were collecting a force with a view to an attack on his post at Peach Orchard, or at Louisa, and stating the steps you have taken to secure the subsistence stores lately sent to Peach Orchard by Colonel Cranor, has been received.
Your telegram, giving in brief the same information, was also received, and, in reply, you were authorized to retain one of the infantry regiments recently ordered to this point from your district, till you could ascertain the truth of the report, and become satisfied it was no longer needed. I must say, however, that I do not attach the least confidence to the rumor, believing it to be one of the many stories constantly gotten up by the disloyal and timid. It may be true, however, and proper precautions should be taken to meet it.
In regard to the troops in the district, I would say that after you left this place I concluded, in view of the necessities elsewhere, that two regiments of infantry and a proportion of cavalry was as much as could properly be assigned to that section, and if those regiments were familiar with the country in which they were to operate, they could accomplish more than the larger force recently stationed there. In this view, and with the concurrence of the Governor of Kentucky, an excellent regiment, raised in the Big Sandy region, was ordered there, and three regiments withdrawn. I believe this force to be enough, as soon as Colonel Dils' regiment is mustered in, and a mustering officer has gone up for that purpose.
You will be left with a comparatively small command, and will be relieved and ordered elsewhere in consequence, if you desire it. It would be well for you to remain a short time, however, till you have become somewhat familiar with the district, and have arranged for the proper distribution of the troops.
I regret that the low stage of the river prevents the accumulation of supplies higher up the valley.
The great object of the troops in that section is to prevent depredations by parties of guerrillas, and to watch the practicable route into Kentucky, passing through or near Piketon and Prestonburg. The latter cannot be accomplished by troops stationed in Louisa and vicinity; the former may be to some extent, at least, by sending detachments of proper strength to scour the country and return. This is practiced constantly in other districts of the State, and Colonel Dils kept his command at Piketon for a considerable time, and only fell back on account of his communications being cut by the enemy, and this through a want of proper understanding between himself and Colonel Cranor, resulting from the former not being mustered into service - did not acknowledge the control of the latter. The muster-in of the Thirty-ninth will prevent the repetition of such an occurrence. The troops should not be allowed to lie still; they should be kept moving, and I am sure it is practicable to do this with the men you have, and that with results that shall be beneficial to the troops and the country in which they operate. Operations can scarcely be carried on in accordance with the regular system of warfare in that section of Kentucky. It must be partisan warfare, like that which the rebels are pursuing in that region; we must meet them with their own tactics, and with