The troops at and near Saltville may be used to re-enforce you if the enemy advances into East Tennessee; but until Burnside's movement is more clearly developed than it now is, I do not think it would be safe to move the troops from Saltville to East Tennessee.
I have no reliable information in regard to Marshall's command. If that is in position and condition to guard the approaches to the Salt-Works, my troops might go into East Tennessee, though even in that case I think it better that Marshall's men should go there. But if the reports that reach me in regard to his command are true, they cannot be relied on at present for any useful service. Under all the circumstances, therefore, I think it best not to move my troops from Saltville at present.
It may be that Burnside will attempt to penetrate East Tennessee by Cumberland Gap or to the east of it; if so, my small force at Saltville will be in better position to aid you than if sent to Knoxville.
Please keep me fully advised of any information you have from Kentucky, and of your own plans and wishes. All the aid I can give you will be given most cheerfully.
Very respectfully and truly,
KNOXVILLE, TENN., May 2, 1863.
Adjutant and Inspector General, Richmond, Va.:
Six or eight regiments of enemy's cavalry reported having crossed Cumberland River, between Rowena and Somerset, on 29th ultimo.
DABNEY H. MAURY,
KNOXVILLE, May 2, 1863.
Major General SAMUEL JONES:
MY DEAR GENERAL: I have sent Colonel Trigg, an energetic soldier, to take command of General Mashall's forces in Harlan, Perry, and Letcher Counties, General Marshall being absent on leave. He is doubtless with them by this time. I have given him the best general instructions I could, and I hope he will be able to insure the protection of our front. I have especially urged him to build up the discipline of the troops. I am very thankful for your suggestions on this subject, and hope will continue to give me the benefit of your views respecting the affairs of our department, which are so closely related, and both of which you possess-information I cannot hope to acquire. General Buckner may be expected here daily. I receive information that the enemy is assembling his forces at Somerset and at London. I am unable yet to procure information of his collecting means of transportation in large quantity. I can only watch and hold the troops ready to move promptly.
DABNEY H. MAURY,
P. S.-By a letter from Albany of the 29th instant [ultimo], I learn that a force, reported eight or nine regiments of cavalry, have crossed Cumberland River at three points between Somerset and Rowena, and is advancing toward Monticello.