force, with Colonel Clarke's regiment North Carolina Volunteers, are here encamped. All the sick requiring hospital treatment, belonging to the troops operating in this valley, have been sent to the hospitals. A portion of the Mississippi regiment, Colonel Russell's, is encamped here, and reported by the attending physician as doing well. The sick at the Blue Sulphur are improving. Some deaths have occurred there, and the hospital is badly managed. I gave in a visit to it all necessary instructions, but the difficulty lies in the execution of orders. There is no proper person in charge. Lieutenant-colonel Venable was absent. I shall visit the hospital at Lewisburg and White Sulphur to-day and proceed thence to Richmond. I have endeavored to find a better encamping ground than this at this season of the year, and one more defensible with the present force, but have not succeeded. The scarcity of water is the obstacle. There is a full supply of provisions for the troops, and I have sent back the wagons to bring up all the clothing that may be at Jackson's River for the regiments here stationed. Colonel J. Lucius Davis is in command of the troops, who is directed to keep you advised of occurrences.
I have the honor to be, your obedient servant,
R. E. LEE,
CAMP NEAR PRESTONBURG, October 29, 1861.
General JOHN B. FLOYD:
GENERAL: I am here with between 1,000 and 1,200 men, trying to muster and organize them, but we have so much scouting and picket duty to perform that it has been almost impossible to compile our muster-rolls. There are 5,000 Federal troops at Hazel Green and West Liberty under command of General Nelson. Their object I believe [is] to move up the Sandy to the Virginia and Tennessee Railroad. The force I have is badly armed and without any instruction. We have scarcely any ammunition. If the force moves up the Sandy, as I expect, I shall fight a sort of guerrilla fight, fall back, and kill as many of them as possible.
JOHN S. WILLIAMS,
P. S.-There is no possibility of my being mistaken as to the enemy's strength.
NORFOLK, October 29, 1861-9.30 a. M.
Honorable SECRETARY OF WAR:
Thirty-six steamers and one transport steamer have gone to sea this morning and two yesterday.
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF NORTH CAROLINA,
Goldsborough, October 29, 1861.
Brigadier General D. H. HILL,
Commanding, &c., Fort Macon:
GENERAL: I have received a dispatch from the Secretary of War saying that the fleet has just sailed from Hampton Roads and that our spies say it is destined for Wilmington. The troops here will be held