AUGUST 8, 1864.
Colonel Palmer has not been relieved. He is still in command, but is now subordinate to General Martin. He is in immediate command of the troops, while General Martin commands the district. The latter is responsible.
Numbers 4. Report of Colonel Peter Mallett, commanding North Carolina conscripts.
Raleigh, N. C., July 1, 1864.
GENERAL: The late capture of Camp Vance by the band of raiders under the renegade Kirk having involved the capture of some of your command (the reserves), I deem it proper to forward for your information the inclosed copy of letter from Captain Allen, reporting the affair. The report is very unsatisfactory and by no means creditable to the officers present, who, it appears, made no resistance whatever. The home guard turned our in force, and, together with a company of the Salisbury prison guard, overtook the raiders at Piedmont Springs, nineteen miles from Morganton, as reported to the Governor by Mr. Wilson, president Western railroad. In the skirmish or fight at this place Kirk's arm was broken and Colonel Avery, of our party, severely wounded. It appears that only our mounted men were engaged, the infantry being within seven miles, advancing rapidly. It is supposed Colonel Palmer will head them off, their line of retreat being through Watauga and Yancey Counties. Lieutenant Hines, with 165 mounted men of the supporting force, reached this place yesterday, the men with instructions from Bureau of Conscription.
Under existing circumstances, in view of the defenseless condition of Western North Carolina, and the liability to similar raids by tories and marauders, I have earnestly urge upon the superintendent by telegraph the importance of the immediate return of this command to protect and hold the country. No reply has been received, communication with Richmond by mail and telegraph being cut off. I have concluded the emergency will not justify further delay, and have ordered the command to return field of operations until further orders.
I have the honor to be, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Colonel, Commanding of Conscripts for North Carolina.
General T. H. HOLMES,
CAMP VANCE, N. C., June 29, 1864.
COLONEL: On my arrival here this morning I found Camp Vance a heap of ruins, and after stricbeg leave to submit the following report:
Major McLean left this place Monday morning, the 27th instant, leaving Lieutenant Bullock, the senior officer present, in charge of the