the withdrawal of Crook's command leaves a considerable surplus of subsistence stores int he upper valley. Forage, however, is not abundant. in view, therefore, of the diminution of the force in the Kanawha, I have the honor to request from the general commanding a statement of his view of the policy to be pursued in the contingency referred to by General Scammon, or any other similar one which may arise.
I believe I have before stated to the general that the chief embarrassment of the officer commanding in the Kanawha is not in reference to his direct front, but as to his flanks, raids of cavalry being possible, either by the route taken by [A. G.] Jenkins last season, i. e., through the mountains between Summerville and Beverly, thence down the Little Kanawha Valley to the Ohio, reaching the Great Kanawha any where between Charleston and the mouth; or by the valley of the Big Sandy, and thence, as above stated, to the Kanawha above Charleston, at the Salines, or anywhere below. in either case it will be important to know what policy it is desired to have pursued-whether to attempt to hold Gauley Bridge, leaving the enemy to occupy the lower valley, or penetrate into ohio, trusting to the necessity of their making but a brief visit, or to retreat to the Ohio. Of course these questions could only arise when the enemy is in greatly superior force. The line is not one which would be available tot eh enemy for permanent operations on a large scale, but they would, no doubt, be very glad to repossess the valley on account of the salt, as also on account of the diversion it would make in behalf of their forces elsewhere.
Political reasons also weigh with them in the desire to keep a foot-hold in Western Virginia.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
J. D. COX,
ORDERS.] HEADQUARTERS DISTRICT OF KANAWHA,
Charleston, January 29, 1863.
Colonel Paxton is directed to send one or two companies of cavalry on the road leading south from Cannelton. There are rumors of an approach of the enemy from Tazewell. Their force is said to be cavalry and light artillery, under [Henry] Heth. This reconnaissance must be made with all speed, and with special reference to the selection of points where an enemy could be most successfully opposed by inferior force. no time must be lost.
It is reported that the enemy intends to strike the river near Mr. Ayers' works, at Cannelton. You will readily understand the route by which they would approach.
E. P. SCAMMON,
MARIETTA, OHIO, [January 29, 1863.]
Brigadier-General SCAMMON, Charleston:
The possibility of a move of the nature you speak of has made me incline to the opinion that a force small as yours can be best used against one greatly superior by holding Gauley instead of Fayette; but this, of course, implies that the crests around that post are held with tenacity,