At Laurel Hill, 3. 30 p. m., I received dispatch marked B, inclosed, from which it seems that the entire abandoned of the country was expected, although no directions were given as to the disposal of the immense depots of stores at Clarksburg and Webster . I ordered everything but the cavalry pickets to the railroad ; arrived at Clarksburg at 5 p. m., 16th . The Third and Eight Virginia were at Bridgeport. Their ordnance stores had been unnecessarily delayed . They were hurried forward, and issued during the 16 and 17th, days and nights . The horses which had been issued were not shod, and though timely requisitions for forges, tools, and materials had been made before the arrival of the horses, yet the incompleteness and insufficiency of the supplies retarded our operations . Horses cannot travel over the rugged roads of this country without shoes, without breaking down very soon . When a regiment of infantry is transformed into cavalry in the space of forty-eight hours, by mounting the men upon green horses, a short march, however well conducted, occasions much wear and tear of material, and it would be a dangerous experiment to take such troops immediately into action . Unavailable as infantry, they are inefficient as cavalry . I hope to render this transition state as short as possible. On the morning of the 16th, a telegram from Brigadier-General Kelley directed me to hold Beverly. Accordingly, the Tenth Virginia and Ewing's battery were sent back to the place . On the morning of the 17th, I arrived at Grafton with the Twenty-eight Ohio, Second Virginia, and Keeper's battery . The Twenty-eight and the battery were sent forward to New Creek. I had communicated with Colonel Mulligan at New Creek, and requested him to cause reconnaissances to be made, &c. Ascertaining from his reply, which I inclose, * that there was no cause from immediate apprehensions, I hesitated about forwarding the Second Virginia immediately, as the horses to mount it were here . I have had a staff officer twice at Wheeling to hurry forward the ordnance, which was so long coming . The unwillingness of the ordnance officer at that point to issue to me or to my ordnance officer in bulk, occasioned the delay . I have no officers now at Pittsburgh and Cincinnati, striving to obtain what it most essential . Telegrams inclosed from Wheeling and Pittsburgh will make you aware of what is to be expected from those places . The orders received from your headquarters and from Brigadier-General Kelley are somewhat conflicting and indefinite . The first received undoubtedly contemplates a complete withdrawal of all troops from this section . The orders from general Kelley direct the holding of Beverly and leaving of small guards . One of his orders on the 17th, you will observe, sanctions the delay of the Second Virginia this place . I still have some cavalry pickets, light, at Buckhannon and Weston. Since the concentration of the troops, it is represented to me that guerrilla parties are making their appearance in different localities . Last night I received the inclosed telegram marked D[E], from Colonel Piatt, in reply to a report of the condition and position of my troops . I regret that Colonel Piatt should have entertained the idea expressed in the beginning of the dispatch, and presuming that the report which I sent to him by telegraph was too incomplete to form a just idea, I was induced to make this . -
*Inclosure C. Inclosure D.