HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF WESTERN VIRGINIA,
Dublin, July 30, 1863.
Brigadier General J. H. WINDER,
GENERAL: I telegraphed you on the 28th instant, asking that Colonel [William H.] Powell, U. S. Army, who was wounded and captured at Wytheville on the 18th instant, might not be exchanged until you hear further from me.
I have written to the Secretary of War on the 22nd instant, stating the ground on which I thought he should be detained. He is charged with all manner of outrage. Since writing to the Secretary on the subject, I have been informed that a man of Colonel Powell's command, who was captured, says that he saw this man Powell shoot with a pistol and kill in cold blood one of our men who had surrendered as a prisoner. The man who gave this information is named Jack Smith; so he gave his name, and was sent down to Richmond yesterday. He is probably in one of the prisons in Richmond now. Will you please cause this prisoner Jack Smith [to be] interrogated in regard to this matter? He stated to my informant that the crime was committed on the Sandy. I am anxious that he shall not be exchanged until his conduct has been investigated.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Petersburg, Va., July 30, 1863.
GENERAL: Since coming over here, in obedience to your orders, I have not been able to learn of the "advance from Portsmouth, " against which I am ordered by you to act. I have made arrangements on the Blackwater for Baker's regiment, that I think will give timely notice of any advance from Portsmouth, and will endeavor to meet any movement of the enemy satisfactorily.
I have not assumed any direction or control in reference to General Ransom's movements, for although a part of the division is temporarily under my command, I understood you to say that he was detached for the present. I would prefer to have official notice of his being detached, so as to relieve me from apparent responsibility.
Although not contemplated in the tenor of your instructions, at General Ransom's request I am guarding the bridges on the Peters-burg an Weldon Railroad as far as Hicksford, to leave him free to act against the enemy threatening Weldon, but have desired him to inform me as soon as he can cover these bridges, so that I may withdraw my men to your department.
If it be through safe to send my brigade, I think an attack on the enemy near Murfreesborough could be made successfully. General Ransom, however, has not communicated in reference to affairs there, and I do not speak advisedly.
You will oblige me by informing me at your earliest convenience if I correctly understood you, and whether you approve my sending troops beyond your department to guard the bridges mentioned. Also send me official notice of Ransom's being ordered out of my