CUMBERLAND, MD., December 23, 1863-8 p.m.
(Received 9.40 p.m.)
Brigadier General G. W. CULLUM,
Chief of Staff:
Colonel Mulligan reports that Colonel Thoburn, who accompanied General Averell as far as Monterey with two regiments of infantry and a battery, and who was ordered to threaten Staunton from the west during Averell's absence at Salem, has reached the North Fork of the Potomac, on the Senece road, in safety on his return, bringing with him General Averell's train. The enemy blockaded the road on him, but he has come through without loss. Will reach Petersburg to-night.
B. F. KELLEY,
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF WEST VIRGINIA, December 23, 1863.
General Averell has succeeded in cutting the Virginia and Tennessee railroad at Salem, in Roanoke County. He reached there on the 16th. Destroyed three depots containing an immense amount of public property, unquestionably collected there for the use of Longstreet's army,which is supposed to be falling back into Virginia.
The following comprises a portion of the property destroyed: 2,000 barrels flour, 10,000 bushels of what, 100,000 bushels of shelled corn, 50,000 bushels of oats, 2,000 barrels of meat, 1,000 sacks of salt, several cords of leather, 31 boxes of clothing, 20 bales of cotton, large amount of harness, shoes, saddles, equipments, tools, oil, tar, and various other stores, and 100 wagons; water stations, bridges, several culverts, and much of track torn up and rails destroyed; large quantity of bridge timber and repairing materials were also destroyed.
General Averell captured about 200 prisoners, and lost about 60 men in killed, wounded, and missing. He says:
My command has marched, climbed, slid, and swum 355 miles since the 8th instant.
This is undoubtedly one of the most hazardous, important, and successful raids since the commencement of the war. General Averell will reach Beverly to-night.
[B. F. KELLEY,]
FORT MONROE, December 23, 1863.
(Received 6.20 p.m.)
SECRETARY OF WAR:
Flag-of-truce boat in. No difficulty, I think, at Point Lookout. Have strengthened the post. Telegrams from Lynchubrg to Richmond papers say that-
A force of the enemy - 3,000 cavalry, and mounted infantry - under Averell, reached Salem, on Virginia and Tennessee Railroad, December 16, at 10.30 o'clock. Telegraphic communication has been interrupted. Hothing heard since.