Numbers 3. Report of Colonel John B. Palmer, FIFTY-eighth North Carolina Infantry, commanding District of Western North Carolina.
HDQRS. DISTRICT OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA,
Asheville, July 4, 1864.
GENERAL: On Wednesday evening last a vague rumor reached me to the effect that a band of tories and deserters had on Tuesday at daylight surprised and captured Camp Vance (a rendezvous of conscripts, near Morganton) and a battalion of Junior Reserves recently organized at that place. Camp Vance is not in my district, my command extending only to the Blue Ridge. Thinking it possible that this band might seek to pass to East Tennessee through Mitchell County, I immediately ordered some infantry to re-enforce the detachment in that county, and intercept and capture the tories should they return by that route; but it was too late, they having passed to Tennessee on Thursday. I have no cavalry under my command. It appears that in going to Camp Vance, Kirk, with a small band of Indians, negroes, and deserters, passed from Carter County, Tenn., through Mitchell County (designated as Watauga County on the map), traveling in the night and avoiding all roads. When he captured Camp Vance he had but 150 men. On this return to Tennessee he plundered and burned my residence in Mitchell County. He committed no other depredations in my district, thought he committed many, I understand, east of the Blue Ridge. If the citizens of Morganton had notified me of Kirk's presence in their vicinity I could have captured his entire band. My forces are still after him, but he will undoubtedly escape. I fear this is but the prelude to something more serious. My force is entirely inadequate to the defense of the district. It is 250 miles from the Virginia to the Georgia State line. I am forced to keep most of my troops posted from Yancey to Cherokee Counties, in order to guard as far as possible against raids into the country opposite the enemy's lines. I have not the force to resist successfully any serious demonstrations on the part of the enemy. The department may rely, however, upon my doing the best I can. General Holmes has not only not given me any additional reserves, but had ordered to the eastern part of the State the small battalion of Junior Reserves recently collected and organized at this place. Some cavalry should be sent to me at once, if practicable.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
J. B. PALMER,
Colonel, Commanding District.
General S. COOPER,
Adjutant and Inspector General, Richmond.
JULY 23, 1864.
Colonel MELTON, Assistant Adjutant-General:
Has not Colonel Palmer been superseded in this command by General Martin? If so, I suppose no action is necessary on this paper.
J. B. HOGE.
Respectfully returned to Colonel Melton.
The point of inquiry is whether Colonel Palmer is still in command. Has General Martin superseded him? The information is needed with reference to some action on pending papers here.
J. B. HOGE.