that the pickets were engaged about a mile in front of Stanford. General Carter has my orders not to risk a battle in front of Dick's River unless the chances are much in his favor, but to hold the enemy in check, and make a stand on that stream, and subsequently on the Kentucky River, if forced back.
I am pushing forward the defenses at Frankfort at the Kentucky ferries between Lexington and Richmond, and can hold the line of the Kentucky against superior numbers. I shall commence fortifying this town to-morrow morning for a garrison of 3,000 men. I have between 1,100 and 1,200 sick here, and many valuable stores.
My opinion is that this advance of the enemy is an invasion, with a view to the occupancy of Central Kentucky, and not a raid. I again refer you to my letters of January 23 and March 10, 1863, in which I pronounced the invasion of Kentucky entirely practicable, notwithstanding the bad condition of the roads. I believed then that nothing but an early and decisive victory for our arms in Tennessee would enable us to retain possession of Kentucky. That victory has been deferred so long that the theater of war is likely to be changed to this Statement Additional troops should be sent here forthwith. The bridges of the two railroads meeting at this place are secure against small forces of the enemy, but it will be no difficult matter for him to rear up the track between the stations, and cut my lines of communication, should he once cross the Kentucky in any respectable force.
I ask your attention to these matters, and full instructions.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Q. A. GILLMORE,
PORTSMOUTH, OHIO, March 23, 1863.
Major-General WRIGHT, Cincinnati:
Cluke has been re-enforced in Magoffin County by Humphrey Marshall, with 1,000 or 1,500 and some light artillery, one piece of which was captured Friday night and secreted by one of my scouts. No doubt of Marshall's presence there. My effective force, besides the cavalry which was ordered to Lexington, will not exceed 800, including two companies on duty at Catlettsburg. I respectfully ask relies by telegraph to the following: May I retain the cavalry now under marching orders temporarily? Will you place Colonel [John L.] Zeigler's regiment temporarily under my command? Do you know of any movement of our troops from Mount Sterling toward West Liberty; if so, what strength? Have the six companies Seventh Ohio Cavalry, ordered to report to me, left Lexington yet?
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE OHIO,
Cincinnati, Ohio, March 23, 1863.
Brigadier General Q. A. GILLMORE, Lexington, Ky.:
White reports from Big Sandy that Marshall's force is from 1,000 to 1,500. How many has Walker, and is he strong enough to resist combined force of Cluke and Marshall? Has Carter force enough, and are