HDQRS. DEPT. OF WESTERN VA. AND EAST TENN.,
Dublin, November 28, 1863.
Brigadier General JOHN ECHOLS:
Your note of the 26th instant has been received. It is impossible to send you re-enforcements at present. Colonels Ferguson and Jackson have been directed to receive and obey orders from you and to report through you to these headquarters.
If the offensive move you contemplate should be made from the Kanawha, you must not make a stand at Lewisburg, but fall back with your infantry and artillery and take position south of Greenbrier River at or near the burned bridge, leaving your cavalry to skirmish with the enemy in front of Lewisburg, and, if too heavily pressed, to fall back and join you at the bridge. Meanwhile use every exertion to effectually blockade the road by Alderson's Ferry and any other road by which the enemy can turn your left and penetrate into Monroe. For their own protection the people of Monroe should furnish you the labor needed for this work. If they will do this (and your influence will accomplish it if it can be accomplished at all), the roads can be so obstructed as to delay the enemy a day or so, should he attempt to come in on your left. At this late season I do not think the enemy will enter Greenbrier for the purpose of permanent occupation. They cannot subsist their troops in that country, and before they can draw supplies from the Kanawha the roads will probably be too bad for tem to rely on the chances of subsistence from that direction.
Should the enemy move on you now, it will be for the purpose of cutting up and dispersing your command.
Their late raid shows how reluctantly they venture far into the country. By keeping your troops well in hand in a strong position near the burned bridge, and obstructing the roads already mentioned, should the enemy move with the purpose of penetrating farther than Lewisburg, he will have to fight you in a strong position where, unless my information is at fault, you can resist any force they can send from the Kanawha. Should they attempt to turn your left, the obstructions should delay them long enough to enable you to take a new position, if necessary.
Should they attempt to move by Covington, they would have to make a detour by way of Frankford and come down the Antony's Creek road (for they would hardly pass directly by your front, exposing both flanks and rear). If they attempt such a thing, you can move by a much shorter line and stop them between Dry Creek and Callaghan's.
NOVEMBER 28, 1863.
Colonel GEORGE JACKSON, Commanding at Magnolia, Kenansville:
You will proceed immediately to Kinston, N. C., and assume command. The Fiftieth North Carolina Infantry has gone on this morning, with orders to report to you at Kinston. Turn over your command at Kenansville to the next in rank. Instructions will be sent you by mail.
By command of Major-General Whiting:
T. B. VENABLE,
Major, and Assistant Adjutant-General.