authorized to order your commissary too muster in the quartermaster of the Fifth Tennessee. The Sixty-fifth Illinois has arrived; will be in Lexington on Wednesday or Thursday.
A. E. BURNSIDE,
HDQRS. FOURTH DIVISION OF CENTRAL KENTUCKY, Somerset, Ky., May 23, 1863.
Brigadier General O. B. WILLCOX,
Commanding District of Central Kentucky, Lexington:
GENERAL: An examination of a map of Wayne and Clinton Counties will show you how exceedingly difficult it will be to meet the rebels now there on anything like equal terms, if acted against only from this direction. From Monticello there is the right-hand road, leading to Albany, another running east, called the "Jacksborough road," from which a road branches leading to Jamestown, Tenn. Going south from Monticello is the main Jamestown road. One mile there is another, branching from this to the left, leading to same place. Five miles out on main Jamestown road there is a fork, the right hand going to Albany, and coming into the Albany road first mentioned about 7 miles to south and west of Monticello. If the enemy is unwilling to fight, he can take one or all the above-mentioned ways, and concentrate at Jamestown or Livingston, or he can fall back to some of the almost impregnable positions on the main Jamestown and Albany roads, and there make a stand.
From the best information I now have of the position of the rebel forces, I have no idea we can do more than come up with their rear guard, if they are unwilling to fight. If a force can cross the river at Burkesville, or, better still, at Celina or Martinsburg, and move rapidly on Albany, the main Jamestown and Livingston roads would be closed. If that force would then move in direction of Jamestow, while this command acted against the enemy from this direction, we might cut them off or capture many of them, as the only way by which they could escape would be over the Jacksborough road from Monticello. Should the enemy show a willingness to fight, our two forces could act in concert, so as to lessen, as far as possible, the probability of their making their escape.
With regard to the movement you have ordered, from a point some 8 miles south of Monticello the country is broken and poor, until you reach the vicinity of Jamestown. There the country is more open, but still so poor that nothing can be obtained in the way of forage.
I speak now of the main road. This passes a very strong position 9 miles this side of Jamestown, known as "Three Forks of Wolf." There the rebels, as early as the fall of 1861, had troops stationed, and threw up some defenses. It can be avoided by taking the left-hand road I have mentioned, and also I believe by going on toward Albany for some distance, and then turning to the left, via Traversville. Jamestown is 35 miles south of Monticello, and, unless we can drive all the enemy before us, our communication over so long a line will be constantly interrupted. The marauding gangs of Champ. Ferguson, numbering about 150, are from Wayne and Clinton Counties, and will in all probability give us much trouble.
I have written these facts, thinking it possible you may not have been advised of them before.