War of the Rebellion: Serial 040 Page 0766 N.VA., W.VA., MD., AND PA. Chapter XXXVII.

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GORDONSVILLE, May 2, 1863.

General ELZEY:

Not true about Trevillian's Station. No orders from Generals Lee and Stuart, excepting one from the former. We are now holding Gordonsville, General W. H. F. Lee in command.

T. S. RHETT,

Colonel.

HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF WESTERN VIRGINIA, Dublin, May 2, 1863.

General S. COOPER,

Adjutant and Inspector General, Richmond, Va.:

GENERAL: Your telegram of this date was received. I did not reply by telegraph because it did not seen necessary, and I did not think it prudent to trust my answer to the telegraph officers.

You are aware, I believe, that I have between 1,500 and 1,600 men operating with Brigadier-General Imboden. He was in Upshur County on the 28th April, with the intention of moving of Grafton and Clarksburg. I have two regiments and a battalion of infantry and two field batteries at and near Saltville, and I have orders from you to send all the cavalry I can mount to General Lee. This leaves me but three regiments and two battalions of infantry and three field batteries to guard the approaches into the country through Greenbrier and Mercer Counties. I have, besides, information which I do not regard as entirely reliable, that the enemy's force in the Kanawha has been recently re-enforced by five infantry regiments. Under these circumstances, I do not think it prudent to send at present any of my troops into East Tennessee, nor, under the existing state of things, do I think I would be justified under your telegram in detaching any portion of my troops and sending them to East Tennessee.

If Brigadier-General Marshall's command can be relied on to guard the approaches to the railroad and salt-works through that part of Southwestern Virginia embraced in the Department of East Tennessee, my small force at Saltville might be sent into East Tennessee; but even in that case I think it would be better that his (Marshall's) force should go to East Tennessee, and mine be left where it is. But, if the reports I hear are true, Marshall's force is in a very disorganized condition, and cannot be relied on at present for any useful purpose.

I understand that Marshall passed down the road this morning en route to Richmond. If so, he perhaps can give you some information on the subject.

General Burnside's movements, so far as I know them are not yet sufficiently developed to enable me to judge of his plans. If he proposes to move by way of Cumberland Gap, or to the east of that point, my troops are in better position at Saltville than they would be if sent to Knoxville. Under all the circumstances, I think it best not to move any troops from my department to East Tennessee at present. If, however, the War Department thinks differently, I shall promptly carry out any orders that may be given in the case. In the meantime I am in communication with Major-General Maury, commanding Department of East Tennessee,and will most cheerfully give him all the aid that is in my power to give. I ought to add, the farms in the rich counties of Greenbrier and Monroe are planting unusually large corps on their best lands. It is of importance to us that they should cultivate them, if we are to hold them, and to withdraw any part of the