some 50 miles and thence across the country to Suffolk and the Nansomend River,a whole distance of not less than 70 miles. While the Chowan and Blacwkater would offer a considerable obstacle to the inroads of the enemy, from the Blackwater to Suffolk, some 30 miles, there are no natural defenses whatever. To hold a line of this character, would require a movable force equal to the force which the enemy can bring against it, besides strong outposts and guards at the passes of the river, with their proper supports. I have to report, therefore, that with the force at my disposal, 6,655 of all arms effective, it is impossible to hold the line in question.
Our present line, which inlcudes the counties of Nansemond, Norfolk, and Princess Anne, Va., beginning on the James River, extends up the Nansemond to Suffolk; thence along Jericho Canal to Kae Drummond, in the Dismal Swamp; thence by the feeder to the Dismal Swamp Canal, and thence by the Little Canal and Northwest River to Currituck Sound. By abandoning the positions at Pongo Bridge and on Northwest River, and throwing the troops now gorrisoning them forward to South Mills and the Pasquotank River, a new line can be formed to include the counties of Currituck and Camden, N. C. This line would be identical with the present as far as Lake Drummond, thence following the line of the Pasquotank south to Albemarle Sound, instead of east by the feeders Little Canal, and Northwest River to Currituck Sound. But all the positions which are or may be occupied to hold these lines, as Suffolk, South Mills, Northwest Landing, Pongo Bridge, &c., are simply outposts, and, although affording present protection to the people inside, would, in the event of the advance of a heavy force of the enemy from the Blackwater, have to be abandoned and the troops drawn in to the fortified lines around Norfolk and Portsmouth.
I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
GEO. W. GETTY,
CUMBERLAND, MD., December 20, 1863-8 p.m.
(Received 10.15 p.m.)
Brigadier General G. W. CULLUM,
Chief of Staff:
Brigadier-General Sullivan reprots that a citizen has just come in to the ferry,and reports that Colonel Rosser, with a brigade of Stuart's cavalry, is in the Luray Valley, maneuvering to get in the rear of General Sullivan's force, now near Harrisonburg,engaging the attention of Imboden. If General Meade would send a cavlry force to Luray, he could cut off Rosser.
B. F. KELLEY,
WASHINGTON, D. C., December 21, 1863 - 1 p.m.
General Meade has sent a brigade to Luray. I hear nothing of Averell.
H. W. HALLEKC,