DUBLIN DEPOT, February 5, 1863.
General S. COOPER,
GENERAL: A citizen of Mercer County, who has for a long time been a prisoner at Camp Chase, was released a few days since, and returned to Mercer Court-House on the 3rd instant. He came up the Kanawha, and reports that he met the Eleventh Ohio Regiment from Summerville, and Twenty-third Ohio from the Falls of Kanawha, and the Twenty-eighth Ohio from Camp Piatt, about 9 miles above Charleston, all going down the river, and the men said they were going to Tennessee. This man further reports that the citizens in the Valley were under the impression that the whole force of the enemy would very soon be withdrawn from the Valley. This report confirms reports I have of movements of troops from Northwestern Virginia to Tennessee. I believe there are still about three regiments of infantry, two field batteries, and two or three companies of cavalry at Fayette Court-House, where large quantities of supplies have been accumulated, probably enough for the winter, and a plank road has been constructed over Cotton Hill.
The accumulation of troops in Tennessee and Kentucky induced me to believe that if any attempt is made to destroy the salt-works in Smyth and Washington Counties, and the railroad, it will be made from Southeastern Kentucky or East Tennessee. The dividing line between my department and the Department of East Tennessee passes directly through the salt-works, and the most practicable approaches to the salt-works are through what is now the Department of East Tennessee. I addressed you on the 21st ultimo, asking to be informed what dispositions of troops had been made to guard those approaches, but I have not received the information.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
KNOXVILLE, TENN., [February 6, 1863.]
Major General SAMUEL JONES:
The indications are very decided of an advance of the enemy. The direction of their movements is not yet developed. I suggest that you hold your troops in readiness for an early movement. Should any raid intercept communication between us at any time, I will expect you to give orders for a movement toward the point of interruption, in connection with [William] Preston. No reliable news from Vicksburg.
S. B. BUCKNER,
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF NORTHERN VIRGINIA, February 7, 1863.
Major General J. E. B. STUART,
GENERAL: Inclosed I send you a letter from a Mr. Harding,* of Northumerland County, in which he mentions the confiscation of goods