without being lost. I have now but 1,600 mounted men. The enemy has about twice that number. To expect me to overtake him with his command in its present condition is absurd, but I will follow and fight him if he stands if it kills every horse and man in the command. Will you please have another train of forage and rations ready day after to-morrow to send out.
WM. W. AVERELL,
CUMBERLAND, August 6, 1864.
(Received 2 p. m.)
A dispatch just received from Colonel Stevenson at New Creek reports that the enemy retreated via Burlington to the Junction, and thence via the Mill Creek road to Moorefield. Should desire supplies, I think it will be the most practicable and safest route to supply you from New Creek. I will send a regiment of infantry to occupy Greenland Gap, which will be a great safety to your trains. I presume the enemy will retreat via the South Fork if they return to Early. If they are going to Kanawha or Beverly, they will go up the South Branch to Franklin and Monterey.
The enemy is in bad condition; has been constantly marching and fighting for more than a week. I think you can whip if you can catch him. I have 200 horses I can supply you. Would suggest if you stop in the neighborhood of Moorefield to send in 200 of your poorest horses and exchange them for fresh ones. The men might come in on a scout, exchange horses, and return. Just received a dispatch from Duffie that the enemy has crossed into Maryland again, 7,000 or 8,000 strong, and that they occupy Hagerstown. I think if doubtful. Write me, by Colonel Thompson's returning scout, and inform me where you will have supplies sent and from what point.
Very respectfully, yours,
B. F. KELLEY,
ROMNEY, August 6, 1864.
You will [move] at once from this point via Grassy Lick to Moorefield and Wardensville turnpike, reaching the pike at a point as near Wardensville as possible. If you ascertain that the enemy has not passed eastward on that road you will at once effectually blockade it by felling trees or other means, and defend the same should the enemy approach, which you will ascertain by sending [a] patrol toward Moorefield, until it meets the enemy. If the enemy has passe you will communicate the fact to these headquarters at Moorfield at once, and endeavor to cut them off at some other point. Should you learn the enemy had taken the Howard Lick road you will endeavor to get upon it in advance of him and stop his progress. Should you hear the sound of cannon, which might indicate an engagement between the main body and the enemy, you will proceed at once by the shortest route toward the scene of action and attack the enemy.
WM. W. AVERELL,