both on that side of the river and on this, and to place the portion of your force you leave for the protection of this side of the valley under a suitable commander with instruction for his government. Information received from the Monterey and Hunterville lines may render necessary the return of General Loring's division at any moment, and I am only now retaining it, I fear at some risk, to secure this road while your arramgements are being matured. The enemy appears to be concentrating his force on Cheat Mountain, and may succeed in driving back General Jackson and opening the road to Staunton. I therefore consider it important that General Loring should return to his post as soon as possible. Unless the re - enforcements you expect reach you promptly, his departure may render a change of plans necessary, and perhaps may compel your return to your encampment at Meadow Bluff before completing your arrangements. The extent of your operations south of the Kanawha must of course depend upon yur means and will be governed by your good judgment. In my order of the 6th instant I had in view an advance down Coal River to the mounth of Lens Creek, the head of navigation of the Kanawha, to intercept the line of communication of the enemy, while an effort was being made to press him in front. The absolute want of necessary supplies forbids the projected advace in front now, and the state of the roads may prevent it later. In that event you can only hold the road and operate by your left as far as you deem advatageous. After the departure of General Loring's command I shall feel compelled to return to my headquarters at Richmond.
I have the honor to be, your obedient servant,
R. E. LEE,
ENGINEER BUUREAU, WAR DEPARTMENT, C. S. A.,
Richmond, Va., October 9, 1861.
Honorable SECRETARY OF WAR:
SIR: From a conversation lately had with Colonel Talcott, chief engineer of the State of Virginia, and a visit with him to the workshops employed, I conclude that but little activity prevails in preparations for arming the defensive works around this city. Only six guns, 32 - pounders, had been monted, while some thirty others [about one - third of the whole number requires] were on hand without carriages. A few of these carriages were under construction, but the work was moving very slowly for want of mechanies and on account of the high price of skilled labor. It was understood from the colonel that the State authorities as wel as himself are extremely desirous that the whole responsibility of these works should be assumed by the Confederate States. I would respectfully recommend that this wish be promptly acceded to, and that the works and the duty of arming them be placed in the hands of the acting chief of this Bureau. It is true that we have no engineer officers who can be assigned to a constant personal supervision of them, but I anticipate no difficulty on that account, as we can continue temporarily in service the civil engineers already employed on them. On the 5th instant I had the honor to submit to you a list of twenty - five officers of the line of the army selected for their presumed fitness for engineer service, hoping that they might be available and be detailed thereto. If the charge of the defensive works, coast and city, is to be assumed by the Government, as it ought to be, this increase of the engineer force is imperatively necessary. If