War of the Rebellion: Serial 040 Page 0666 N. VA., W. VA., MD., AND PA. Chapter XXXVII.

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HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF WESTERN VIRGINIA,

Dublin, March 14, 1863.

Honorable JAMES A. SEDDON,

Secretary of War:

SIR: Your telegram of this date has just been received. I have directed that none of the beef at Salem shall be used for troops in my command until further orders.

I am naturally desirous of providing a sufficient supply of meat for my troops, and respectfully ask that the necessary arrangements may be made as soon as practicable for turning over the supply now owned by Virginia and prepared for the use of the Virginia State Line.

I am inclined to believe that there is a larger supply of meat in this department than is generally believed, but the owners will not sell it to Government because speculators offer higher prices. They are holding back their meat, awaiting the action of Congress on the bill for impressment, in the belief that when that is enacted they will receive higher prices.

I am, most respectfully, sir, your obedient servant,

SAM. JONES,

Major-General.

HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF WESTERN VIRGINIA,

Dublin, March 14, 1863.

Brigadier General JOHN ECHOLS,

Commanding, &c., Narrows:

GENERAL: I have just now received your letter of yesterday, and, as you requested, have telegraphed you not to send to the rear for your transportation, as in the present low state of the forage supply you could not feed the horses, and I do not anticipate that you will need them for some weeks to come.

My instructions to Colonel McCausland are explicit not to engage the enemy in a fight for the possession of Fayetteville. The place would be of no use to us at this time; we would have to abandon it and fall back if it were in our possession, as we could not feet our troops there.

The object is simply to engage the attention of the enemy long enough to aid Jenkins' movements in the Lower Kanawha, by preventing the movement of troops from Fayetteville against him. If the reports I have are correct, the enemy is in no condition to drive back or at all endanger the force that McCausland can carry with him. If the enemy has no more than 700 men at Fayetteville (Wharton did not think they had more than 600 or 700), it may be that when he finds McCausland in his front, and hears that Jenkins is in his rear, he will attempt to fall back to Gauley, or perhaps to Charleston, particularly if McCausland maneuvers as if to cut him off from his only supply of water, which I am told can easily be done. If he attempts to fall back, McCausland will be in position to hurry his movements, force him to abandon some of his supplies, and harass and cut up his men.

If, however, the enemy is much stronger than I anticipate, and should attempt to drive McCausland back, I feel quite sure the latter can with ease and safety fall back to Piney, which he ought to be able to hold against three times his numbers-the enemy will never attack him there-and so back to Princeton. It is only in the most impossible contingency of the enemy following him to the latter place that he will need any assistance from you.