their political status with their regiment than for its military efficiency. My opinion is this regiment would have broken or thrown down their arms on the first fire from the enemy. This regiment was totally unknown to yourself until you assumed command of Cumberland Gap, August, 1863. The Sixty-fourth Virginia was also placed in your brigade a few days before the advance of the Federals under Shackelford on the south side. This regiment had received orders before being assigned to you to mount themselves, and a large portion of them came to Cumberland Gap mounted, but not equipped. Some had saddles and some bridles, while others had their bridles made of rope and twine. When you found that we would have to stand a siege, this regiment was dismounted and their horses sent to a place of safety in the rear, where they escaped the enemy. This caused great dissatisfaction in the regiment. I had fatigue details from this regiment, and found them totally disorganized and the officers having little or no authority over the men. The Sixty-fourth North Carolina was a very small regiment, and I think under tolerable discipline. The Fifty-fifth Georgia was also small, and under fair discipline. I think these two regiments, with proper support, would have done good service.
One little circumstance took place the night before the surrender illustrating the status of the troops. A body of men (125 men and 3 officers, I was told by the assistant adjutant-general, Captain C. W. Frazer, and yourself) was posted on the slope of the mountain, on the south side, in a perfectly secure position (not flankable, and covered by our lines in the gap a quarter of a mile in rear of them), with orders to protect the mill at the foot of the mountain. I was that night superintending the strengthening of a battery immediately in the gap. About midnight the enemy sent a force of 100 men to burn the mill. They advanced and fired a volley. The men left there to defend this mill were completely panic-stricken, breaking and running up the mountain through the gap where I was, and reported the whole Yankee army advancing. Some of them fired off their guns-most probably in the air. Many of them left guns, blankets, and everything else behind in their disgraceful flight. One man was wounded, and he shot by his comrades. So much for the troops. With regard to the position, though it is the general impression that it is impregnable, I believe it to be untenable for a garrison less than 10,000 men, if the attack is made from both sides. The great weakness consists in the dense fogs that envelop it a night, and that do not lift from the mountain in the clearest weather before 7 or 8 a. m., and in damp weather remain the greater part of the day. Those who are familiar with fogs know that in a dense fog the ground is visible to a person walking, though he cannot see 10 steps in front of him. During the prevalence of these fogs it is an easy matter to move any number of troops up to the fortifications, and the ground being so broken a very large force is required for picket duty. The fortifications consisted of detached rifle-pits and some imperfectly constructed earth-works for guns. The fortifications were all unprovided with ditches, as you could not dig more than a foot in any place without striking solid rock, and no material for removing the rock could be obtained. They were very weak, because it was impossible, with the materials on hand, to procure a sufficiency of earth. These fortifications extended for over 2 miles on the north side and a mile on the south side, making a line of over 3 miles to defend with the small force at your command. Owing to the bro-