in the State of Kentucky. As I was on the eve of departure to execute this object the rapid movement of the enemy from the Kanawha Valley in the direction of the Tennessee railroad rendered it necessary that I should remain with my command and co-operate with the other forces here for the protection of the public interests of this section. Since the repulse of the enemy I have obtained the consent of General Jones to carry out the original plan agreed upon between General Buckner and myself. I start upon the expedition to-day, and I forward this communication that the authorities may be informed as to my plans, &c.
I have just received reliable information from my scouts in Kentucky that General Hobson left Mount Sterling on the 23rd instant with six regiments of cavalry (about 3,000 strong) for Louisa, on the Sandy. This force he has collected from all the different garrisons in Middle and Southeastern Kentucky. At Louisa there is another force of about 2,500 cavalry, under the colonel of a Michigan regiment,* recently sent to that vicinity. It is the reported design of General Hobson to unite with this and co-operate with Generals Averell and Crook in another movement upon the salt- works and lead-mines of Southwestern Virginia. Generals Averell and Crook have established themselves in Mercer County, Va., and are awaiting, I understand, the arrival of this force for a combined movement upon the works indicated by three different lines of approach. This information has determined me to move at once into the State of Kentucky, and thus divert the plans of the enemy by initiating a movement within his own lines. My force will be about 2,200 men. I will move through Pound Gap, detach a portion of my command to demonstrate toward the enemy at Louisa, with instructions to join me in the interior, while I will with my main force strike for Lexington and Frankfort. I will destroy as much of the Covington and Lexington Railroad as will not retard a rapid movement, and immediately push toward the Louisville and Frankfort and Louisville and Nashville roads. Both these roads I will damage as far as the inactivity of the enemy will permit. There will be nothing in the State to retard my progress except a few scattered provost guards. I expect to be pursued by the force at Louisa. I will avoid contact with this and make my way back into the department south of the Kentucky River, and through some of the passes in the Cumberland Mountains between Pound and Cumberland Gap. If pursued too strongly to admit this I will turn southward toward some of the passes between Tennessee and Kentucky and make my way back through East Tennessee. By the latest information there is only a small garrison of the enemy in East Tennessee. If I find this to be true, and the movement practicable, I will endeavor to destroy the road between Knoxville and Chattanooga. I make known these plans to you in order that the Government may at this critical juncture be advised of every movement of troops, both within our own and the enemy's lines.
I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
JNO H. MORGAN,
General S. COOPER,
Adjutant and Inspector-General.
*Reference is to Colonel Simeon B. Brown, Eleventh Michigan Cavalry.
5 R R-VOL XXXIX, PT I