War of the Rebellion: Serial 049 Page 0894 OPERATIONS IN N. C.,VA.,W. VA.,MD.,AND PA. Chapter XLI.

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HDQRS. DEPT. OF WESTERN VA. AND EAST TENN.,

Dublin, December 29, 1863.

General S. COOPER,

Adjt. and Insp. General, C. S. Army, Richmond, Va.:

GENERAL: The recent raid on Salem shows, I think, very clearly the importance of having on this line of railroad a force adequate to its protection. I have been satisfied ever since I assumed command in this department of the importance of keeping a regular force directly on this road, and placed such a force on it last spring, but in July last, under orders from the War Department, I was obliged to send that force away, and have not been able since then to replace it.

Under the conviction that it is important to keep some regular force on this road, I respectfully and earnestly recommend that the Fifty-fourth and Sixty-third Virginia Regiments, now serving with the army lately commanded by General Bragg, be ordered to report to me for duty, that I may employ them to protect this important line. Both of those regiments were under my command a year ago. The Fifty-fourth was sent last spring, under orders from the War Department, to East Tennessee. About the 1st of September last, under an urgent call from Major-General Buckner, which you desired me to comply with, I sent the Sixty-third Regiment to East Tennessee, for temporary duty, as I supposed. They both, I think, belong properly to my command. The exigencies of the service have caused them to be temporarily detached; they have rendered valuable and distinguished service under General Bragg, and are now greatly reduced in numbers.

I think the interests of the service will be promoted by bringing them back to this department, where they were raised and organized. The senior officer of the two regiments, Colonel R. C. Trigg, of the Fifty-fourth, is an officer of great merit, who distinguished himself at Chickamauga by his gallantry and general good conduct, and is held in high esteem by the officers under whom he has served, is thoroughly acquainted with this section of country, and, I think, could aid materially in its defense. If those two regiments are brought here I am sure they can render most valuable aid in protecting this section of country. I believe that under the laws which it is understood will be passed by the present Congress, they can be filled up nearly, if not quite, to the maximum, by the opening of spring. It is probable they will diminish rather than increase in strength where they are.

I earnestly commend my suggestion to the favorable consideration of the War Department.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

SAM. JONES,

Major-General.

HDQRS. DEPT. OF WESTERN VA. AND EAST TENN.,

Dublin, December 29, 1863.

General S. COOPER,

Adjutant and Inspector General, Richmond:

GENERAL: In consequence of information received from Brigadier General W. E. Jones, I desire to withdraw my indorsement of the 24th instant on a letter from Major-General Ransom regarding the Twenty-