all the force for the purpose, and going long distance, supplies can probably be had until after the railroad is completed to Jonesborough, distant thirty miles over a comparatively good road.
Colonel Kirk was instructed to thoroughly barricade the Meat Camp road leading through State Gap and also a road not laid down on the map leading through Sampson Gap, between Deep and Watauga Gaps, a few miles from the latter. This with the present disposition of the forces covers the country the South Branch of the Holston River to Watauga Gap. At Boone information was received that General Stoneman was at or near Wilkesborough, N. C., on the 30th ultimo, moving down the Yadkin River, with the supposed intention of destroying the important railroad bridge over the Yadkin River. This is an entirely different route from that General Stoneman said he should take when I last saw him. At that time he stated that it was his intention to strike the East Tennessee and Virginia Railroad at Christiansburg, and said that when I had made that passes through the different gaps herein mentioned secure, and about the time Major-General Stanley would reach Carter's Station, I could make use of the force under my command to operate through the mountains into North Carolina, and if I could he would be glad to have me capture Salisbury and destroy the railroad bridge over the Yadkin. If it is known to the general commanding the department that this has not already been done by General Stoneman, or that he did not contemplate it I should be glad to be permitted to make the attempt, as I am led to believe it practicable, or if found to be otherwise that holding the gaps securely in my rear I could withdraw my forces without loss and in the meantime live off the enemy's country. I respectfully ask that instructions on this subject from the major-general commanding the department may be communicated to me at as early a day as practicable.
I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Brigadier-General, Commanding Division.
Brigadier General W. D. WHIPPLE,
Chief of Staff.
HDQRS. FOURTH DIVISION, DEPT. OF THE CUMBERLAND,
Greeneville, Tenn., May 18, 1865.
On the 22nd of March the First Brigade was concentrated at Morristown, except the Second and Third North Carolina Regiments. On the 23rd troops moved toward Bull's Gap, reaching this point the same day. Thence the brigade moved to Brabson's Mills, arriving at that place on the 26th instant. On the 29th the troops moved to mouth of Roan Creek. Here disposition was made to hold the mountain passes; the Second and Third North Carolina Mounted Infantry were sent to Boone, N. C., and the Fourth Tennessee Infantry and one battalion of the First U. S. Colored Heavy Artillery to Taylorsville and vicinity, and a thorough reconnaissance of the mountain passes made by the general commanding in person. Rough but strong earth-works were erected at each of the above-named places and other points. The enemy at this point made a slight demonstration, capturing a squad of cavalry, attached. In compliance with instructions previously received the command was moved toward Greeneville, reaching that place about the 20th of April, except the Fourth Tennessee Infantry, which was retained at Jonesborough. On the 27th the Second and Third North