only about 700 men to guard that point. I also learn that troops have been taken from the Kanawha Valley and, it is supposed, sent to Chattanooga. There is no information that indicates an increase over the usual force in the Kanawha Valley.
In obedience to my instructions Colonel Corns has sent out strong scouting parties on the Kanawha and Wilderness roads, and Lieutenant Otey with 5 men will penetrate the enemy's lines at Bousman, in Kanawha, on Saturday night.
I have the honor to remain, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
GEO. S. PATTON,
[Inclosure No. 3.]
HDQRS. SECOND BRIGADE, ARMY OF WESTERN VIRGINIA,
Saltville, Va., August 30, 1863.
Major General SAM. JONES,
Commanding Department of Southwestern Virginia:
GENERAL: When the Sixty-third Regiment was ordered from this point to Knoxville, I was notified that its place would be supplied by some of General Buckner's dismounted cavalry. On the next day (24th instant) a telegram from Major Cooke directed me to take charge of General Preston's district in his absence that the order is given at the request of General Buckner. A dispatch from Colonel Hodge at the same time said that he and Colonel Giltner were ordered to report to me with their commands at Saltville. A few hours subsequent another dispatch from colonel Hodge informed me that he was ordered by General Preston with his command to Knowxville. No copy of the order was sent me but Colonel Hodge went. I notified Colonel Giltner of these orders immediately, and directed him to report to me the locality, number, and condition of the remaining troops. After a delay of nearly two days, Colonel Giltner sent me an order (copy of which is herewith inclosed) reciting that he is placed in command of the troops, with instructions to report to me, but forbidding any disarrangement of the present condition of the troops. A copy of his letter accompanying the order is also inclosed. I sent Captain Stanton to Abingdon to order Colonel G. to report to me in person, which he did on Friday morning. It is evident from his authority I have no power to command him, and co-operation seems to be optional with him. I directed him to go in person to Lebanon, but he informed me that General Preston had ordered him to remain at Abingdon.
The troops mentioned in his letter as having been ordered from the vicinity of Pound Gap to Castle Wood, are raw and inefficient, and he (Colonel Giltner) is very doubtful as to whether any considerable portion of them will leave their present locality. The men, of which Major Prentice assumed command, have been held together only by a promise that they should remain in Wise County. The place of the Sixty-third has not been supplied with other troops, and I have nothing to defend the salt-works frontier, except the new troops of my own brigade,and in the present emergency I wish the actual position of things to be clearly understood. I cannot be responsible for the care of General Preston's district, unless the order to assume command is plain and unequivocal. Already Colonel Giltner informs me that his pickets have been run inn on the two