in view for you were the most secure protection of your district, or the better portion of it. But a very great object is to overlook and, as much as possible, to defend the Pound Gap entrance into Kentucky, which has been, and may again be, used by the enemy as a route to the central or blue-grass region. In order to effect this, the principal part of your force should, if possible, be pushed forward to and maintained in the vicinity of Prestonburg and Pikesville, so as to be in a position to press upon the flank and rear of any force entering through Pound Gap with a view to an advance into Central Kentucky; and if you could not take position to successfully oppose such inroad, the next object should be to annoy, distract, and damage the enemy as much as possible, by threatening and attacking his flank and rear. There is understood to be, in the country proposed to be occupied, a sufficiency of hay and other forage to supply you for a considerable length of time, which should be taken as needed, giving, in all case, proper vouchers for property thus appropriated. It is believed that a force of such character as that which composes, in part at least your command, many of them residents of that country, and knowing the people and country thoroughly, should be able, at least as well as any troops, to maintain itself there, with what subsistence and support it could derive from the country, without depending so much upon communication with the base of supply at the Ohio River, as under other circumstances would be proper and in accordance with military usage. Such a force should be able to adopt, to some extent, at least, the plan of campaign pursued by the enemy's force, of somewhat the same character to which they are opposed, not depending too much upon supply trains or lines of communication. A comparatively small force of cavalry, kept constantly moving, might sufficiently protect the lower country, and particularly by such irregular organizations of Home Guards, &c., as you mention, all of whom should be prepared to assist in defending their homes, at least, form any possible inroads of the enemy, in the absence of the greater part of the regular force to the front.
General Scammony has been directed, if practicable, to send two companies of the Fifth Virginia to Catlettsburg, and to advance the balance of that regiment to Wayne Court-House, according to your suggestion. It is impossible to lay down any particular rules for operation in a district such as yours, nor can a commander at a distance take nay management of the details. That must be left entirely to the immediate commander, who is supposed to be conversant with the general necesstances of each day may develop. Therefore, stating to you the objects most desirable to be attained in your district, viz, the overlooking of, and as well as possible defending, the Pound Gap entrance to Kentucky, and the protection, as well as may be under the circumstances, of as much as possible of the district, you are expected to exercise your discretion in making such disposition of the force and means at your command as shall seem, in your judgment, best of their accomplishment, communicating at all times freely with headquarters in regard to anything, and with any suggestions of your own affecting the interests of the service in your district.
At present no additional force can be furnished for service in that district.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
H. G. WRIGHT,