ville. Twelve killed and captured. Prisoners say they intended going to Virginia. Notify all your posts of same and keep a good lookout for them. They number now about twenty-three men.
E. H. HOBSON,
LEXINGTON, KY., January 30, 1865.
A band of guerrillas dressed in Federal uniform, claiming to belong to Fourth Missouri Cavalry, numbering thirty five, under Captain Clarke, was attacked yesterday near Harrodsville. Twelve killed and captured, balance scattered. Prisoners say they intended going to Virginia. Notify all your posts and keep a good lookout for them.
E. H. HOBSON,
(Same to Colonel Brown, Mount Sterling, Ky.)
CITY POINT, VA., January 31, 1865.
Major General GEORGE H. THOMAS,
Commanding Army of the Cumberland:
With this I send you a letter from General Sherman.* At the time of writing it General Sherman was not informed of the depletion of your command by my orders. It will be impossible for you at present to move south as he contemplated with the force of infantry as indicated. General Sherman is advised before this of the changes made, and that for the winter you will be on the defensive. I think, however, an expedition from East Tennessee under General Stoneman might penetrate South Carolina well down toward Columbia, destroying the railroad and military resources of the country, thus visiting a portion of the State which will not be reached by Sherman's forces. He might also be able to return to East Tennessee by way of Salisbury, N. C., thus releasing some of our prisoners of war in rebel hands. Of the practicability of doing this General Stoneman will have to be the judge, making up his mind from information obtained whilst executing the first part of his instructions. Sherman's movements will attract the attention of all the force the enemy can collect, thus facilitating the execution of this. Three thousand cavalry would be sufficient force to take. This probably can be raised in the old Department of the Ohio without taking any now under General Wilson. It would require, though, the reorganization of the two regiments of Kentucky cavalry which Stoneman had in his very successful raid into Southwestern Virginia. It will be necessary probably for you to send, in addition to the force now in East Tennessee, a small division of infantry, to enable General Gillem to hold the upper end of Holston Valley and the mountain passes in rear of Stoneman. You may order such expedition. To save time I will send copy of this to General Stoneman, so that he can begin his preparations without loss of time, and can commence his correspondence with you as to these preparations. As this expedition goes to destroy and not to fight battles, but to avoid them when practicable, particularly against anything like equal forces, or where a great object is to be gained, it should go as light as possible. Stoneman's expe-
* See Sherman to Grant, January 21, Vol. XLVIII, Part II, p. 102.