expecting to hear definitely from the general commanding this evening. It is a sad disappointment to the command, but I trust should orders come to retrace our steps they will be obeyed without much murmuring. I inclose you a list of those who have gone on or gone off without leave, and trust you will attend to having them arrested on their arrival at Staunton and confined until we reach that place, or sent back should we be ordered to Monterey. The commissary at Monterey made arrangements with the commissary at Staunton for a supply of beef to meet us at Buffalo gap. I beg you will see that the cattle, if sent as directed to meet us on the evening of the 29th, shall not be butchered, as we certainly shall not reach that point before the 30th, and may not go at all. I sent the sick and convalescents who were unable to stand the march and the inclement weather on to Staunton in advance, acting upon the advice of the surgeons.
I have the honor to be, your obedient servant,
W. B. TALIAFERRO,
Colonel, Commanding Troops at McDowell.
McDowell, November 28, 1861.
Colonel C. L. STEVENSON,
Acting Assistant Adjutant-General:
COLONEL: I received your communication of yesterday at 2.30 p. M. to-day. I had, as intimated in my communication of last evening, halted the four regiments at this point, and as the climate here is much milder than at Monterey will await here the instructions of the commanding general. I inclose the order of General Jackson, commanding this line, assigning Colonel Johnson to the command of the troops at Alleghany and Crab Bottom, and assigning me to the command at Monterey and Fork of Waters. Since that time I was ordered to take command of the troops en route for Staunton and rejoin my command as limited to those regiments. General Jackson preceded this command to Staunton, and may have gone on to Richmond, but I have forwarded, after opening, all official communications directed to the commanding officer of the line to Colonel Barton, his adjutant-general at Staunton. I have received no orders to assume command of the Monterey Line, and I believe it is an undetermined point whether Colonel Johnson or myself is that ranking officer. All difficulty and embarrassment on that score was avoided by the assignment made by General Jackson's order. Your communication is addressed to the commanding officer on the Monterey Line, and the senior officer would certainly have been Colonel Johnson* reached Staunton and gone forward. As it is I will address a communication to Colonel Johnson, informing him of the commanding general's instructions to hold Colonel Scott's regiment in readiness to march with camp equipage and ammunition, and issue an order to Colonel Goode to the same effect. I will cause the regiments here to be supplied with camp equipage and ammunition if it can be procured at Monterey; otherwise I will send to Staunton for it. I know there are no extra percussion caps at Monterey and no ammunition for rifles, as I have drawn requisitions since the 1st of August which have not yet been filled. I will cause the quartermaster and commissary to make reports of the amount of clothing, &c.,
*Original is here mutilated and illegible.