shall place the men of Aiken's regiment to be transferred under the command of one of my own staff (having no other available officer), I respectfully ask that immediate disposition be made of them.
Awaiting your early response, I remain, most respectfully, your obedient servant,
B. H. ROBERTSON,
HDQRS. POST COMMAND, CHIEF ENROLLING OFFICE,
FIFTH CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT, S. C.,
Greenville, S. C., March 26, 1864.
[General THOMAS JORDAN:]
GENERAL: I have the honor to inclose you a copy of a communication received this morning from Colonel J. B. Palmer, commanding Western District of North Carolina, informing me of the manner and points at which he had stationed troops to protect his district from the approach of the raiding parties of the enemy, from the neighborhood of Knoxville, Tenn., who have twice invaded it and devastated and destroyed the produce, mills, agricultural implements, &c., of the inhabitants of that section of North Carolina. Colonel Palmer and myself have been in communication for the last several months with a view of co-operating together on the approach of danger. Should the enemy get the advantage of him and whip his forces they will undoubtedly advance into this State, with the view of destroying the railroads at this place, Walhalla, Pendleton, Anderson, Belton, and Williamston, as well as the State armory located here, and the numerous large merchant mills and Government workshops, cotton factories, &c., covering the interior of these upper districts. That they will advance raiding parties in the event that General Longstreet's forces uncover us in East Tennessee, which there are indications now will be done, I have not a solitary doubt. By casting your eye upon a map you will observe that there is not perhaps in the whole Confederacy a prettier field for a dashing raid of vandals, or one in which more serious damage or disaster could be inflicted outside of our large towns and cities than the one herein indicated. That the enemy are making examinations and reconnaissances for this purpose I have abundant testimony to convince even the most incredulous. Deserters and disloyal men who for months past have been secreted in the mountains have been in communication with the enemy in an around Knoxville, and only a few days ago a detachment of some 20 men under my command sprung a covey of some ten or dozen of these parties in one of the most inaccessible ravines of the mountains, some 30 miles from this place, which was surrounded with caves and deep ravines, and fired a number of shots at the party as they fled over the crags and precipices, wounding 2 of them, and capturing their blankets, knapsacks, &c. This party was headed by U. S. officer in full uniform, who, though a number of shots were fired at him, escaped unhurt. This, as stated, occurred in 30 miles of this place, and in the mountains between the two celebrated turnpikes, Saluda and Jones' Gaps. The women (who are all disloyal) informed my men that this U. S. officer was on recruiting service. I have no doubt myself (though this is speculation) that he was making a reconnaissance, and belongs to the engineer corps of the enemy's army at or near Knoxville.