over the State, and in consequence of the rigid conscription and the high political excitement now so prevalent all over the State, and I believe if this was done that Vaughn, Pridemore, and myself could be fully able to take care of the department; and I have but little doubt that 500 armed men could go anywhere in the northeastern and central portion of the State.
I am, in conclusion, general, with sentiments of high respect, your obedient servant,
V. A. WITCHER,
P. S.-If I receive no further orders I will assemble Swann's command at Centerville and organize it. Should I hear nothing rendering it imprudent for me to do so I will also report to you in person at Wytheville, as it will only require about forty-eight hours to do so and return to my command. Should you disapprove of this or wish to communicate with me, I will have a courier at the Narrows of New River after the 19th instant until the command reaches Greenbrier. I will keep scouts constantly in the Kanawha Valley and watch every movement of the enemy. However, I think there is no danger from that direction, as it requires all his forces there for garrison purposes, and I have no doubt but that I have taken the Valley upon this expedition if I had had two pieces of artillery. The enemy refused to fight me everywhere except from his forts and fortifications. It would have been foolish, you know, to have hurled cavalry against them.
Major General J. C. BRECKINRIDGE,
Comdg. Department of Western Virginia and East Tennessee.
HDQRS. DEPT. OF WESTERN VIRGINIA AND E. TENNESSEE,
Wytheville, November 29, 1864.
Respectfully forwarded to call attention to that part relating to military operations. None of the suggestions in regard to new organizations, &c., will take effect without proper authority.
JOHN C. BRECKINRIDGE,
NOVEMBER 6-8, 1864.-Expedition from New Creek to Moorefield, W. Va., and skirmish.
Report of Colonel George R. Latham, Fifth West Virginia Cavalry, commanding expedition.
HEADQUARTERS U. S. FORCES,
New Creek, W. Va., November 9, 1864.
LIEUTENANT: I have the honor to report that at 9.30 a. m. on the 6th instant I left this place with 225 men of the Fifth and Sixth West Virginia Volunteer Cavalry and one gun of Battery L, First Illinois Artillery. We marched to Greenland Gap by about 5 p. m., where we rested till 9.30 p. m. We then started for Moorefield, which place we reached at 5 a. m. on the 7th instant. My purpose was to surprise the rebel command at that place. The surprise of the place was complete. I surrounded and took charge of the place quietly, before it was known to any of the inhabitants that we were in the neighborhood; but could not ascertain the position of the rebel camp until after it became light, when we were discovered by them. Some light skirmishing then occurred, but the