War of the Rebellion: Serial 108 Page 0656 MD., E. N. C., PA., VA., EXCEPT S. W., & W. VA. Chapter LXIII.

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amongst the people. This I find very hard to do since the advance of the enemy and their near approach to this region. If the Union feeling could be eradicated, I think this country, and consequently that toward the railroad, could be very certainly defended against any force likely to be brought against it. I have desired likewise, as a matter of military policy, to keep my position upon the enemy's flank as long as I could possibly maintain it, because I think the enemy would hardly advance upon the railroad, leaving me so far in the rear. If such were the case, I could destroy his trains and cut off his supplies, unless he kept a large army for an escort, which is impossible. I conclude, therefore, the enemy will either remain where he is, while I stay here, or will advance upon me with such force as to render a forward movemnt upon the railroad next to impossible this winter. If I can do anything to prevent or retard the advance upon the railroad, I think such service will amply repay us for our real toil and the privations we have undergone. Another incidental advantage, but a very important one, arises from our holding this country to the latest possible period; it is that of subsisting our people upon supplies which can only be made available to a force in the country. Every day we hold our position relieves the country east of the Cumberland range of the burhtern of our support. It also consumes what might be used otherwise by the enemy as supplies by which to advance into the interior. I think every possible means that ingenuity and economy can suggest to husband our army supplis should be resorted to and enforced. This wake the form of excessive violence and gigantic proportions, and will be resolved at the South into a question of possible subsistance and at the North into one of finance. It will be a strunggle as to which can last longest-our subsistance or their money. With an abundance of supplies, our country is unconquerable, but both courage and patriotism quickly sink under the grip of famine, and we must not cenceal from ourselves the fact that some articles of food have already reached famine prices. The supplies of all our mountain region within possible reach of the railroad ought to be left entirely untouched throughout the winter, if that be possible, and if not, then the least available quantity should be taken.

There is no danger of any advance by the enemy from Kanawha this winter in stronger force than could be replled by a few regiments of General Echols' command, assisted by my force. The balance of the troops in the country, consisting of the residue of General Echols' force and General Marshall's whole command, amounting in all no doubt to 10,000 men, could be at once taken to a field of active operations on tide-water. If you could induce the Secretary of War to take this course, I am sure it would prove advantageous to the general interest of the service and an absolute blessing to the mountain region. The army beyond what I have above indicated is entirely useless in the railroad region, and, what is worse still, the indelness and inaction of the troops produce a general demoralization and render it next to impossible to keep the men together. Next season I feel confident we will need a strong force to defend the country, and there will be a crying necessity for every ounce of meat and every ounce of provender the country can furnish. General Marshall's return to the State was the signal for a systematic attempt by some of his officers to disorganize my command. A fellow called Witcher, assuming to hold the rank of major in General Marshall's command, a person of the most depraved and infamous character, fell in last week with one of my companies stationed at some distance from me, and presuaded to whole company to desert their post and go to join General Marshall's army. The name of