War of the Rebellion: Serial 125 Page 0857 UNION AUTHORITIES.

Search Civil War Official Records

ville, Ky., Camp Nelson, Ky., Nicholasville, Ky., Lexington, Ky., Mount Sterling, Ky., Lebanon, Ky., Columbia, Ky., Somerset, Ky., Stanford, Ky., Camp Burnside, Ky., Crab Orchard, Ky., Mount Vernon, Ky., Camp London, Ky., Barboursville, Ky., Cumberland Gap, Ky., Tazewell, Tenn., Strawberry Plains, Tenn., Knoxville, Tenn., Loundon, Tenn., Charleston or Calhoun, Tenn., and Kingston, Tenn.

During the month of January field offices were opened at Mossy Creek, Tenn., and at Powell's River Bridge, Tenn., but they were closed before the end of the month, as were also the offices at Tazewell, Tenn., Strawberry Plains, Tenn., and Kingston, Tenn.

These changes were rendered necessary by the changes in the disposition of the military forces.

During the months of January and February a new line was extended from a point six miles south of Camp Burnside, Ky., to Clinton, Tenn., a distance by the line of 100 miles.

The severity of the weather, the nature of the country-rough, mountainous, heavily timbered, and almost uninhabitable-the difficulty of procuring the means of transportation for the necessary material and subsistence for the men and animals engaged in the work, on account of the extraordinary demand for the same to subsist the regular military forces in the field, rendered this a very difficult and laborious work. I was never able to work the line-and then only for a few days-beyond a point between Chitwood's and Jacksborough, distant from Camp Burnside about sixty miles. The first failure to work was owing to depredations committed upon the line by the Twelfth Kentucky Regiment while en route from Knoxville to Camp Burnside, by shooting off the insulators and cutting down the poles for firewood. Added to this, heavy storms of wind, sleet, and rain passing over this section, trees in many instances were blown down upon the line, crushing it to the ground, and passing trains of army wagons becoming entangled in the wire, rendered its destruction complete.

Evil-disposed citizens in the vicinity of Pine Knot Tavern and elsewhere along the damaged it severely by cutting down the poles, cutting the wire, some portions of which were entirely removed.

Strenuous effort were made to repair these damages. Parties for that purpose were organized and sent out to aid the stationery repairers in getting the line again in working condition, but no sooner were repairs made in one part of the line than difficulty was found to exist in other portions. One serious cause of annoyance was the total disregard paid to the line by the large parties of labores sent out to work upon the military road along which the line was extended. They probably felled trees across it, and in many instances cut down the poles and trees to which it was attached for support, even when no necessity for thus doing existed. Prompt reports of these depredations were made to the military authorities at Camp Burnside, and protection asked as soon as it could become known.

The country through which the line passes is almost a wilderness, uninhabited save by a few wretched mountaineers, and was entirely destitute of either forage or subsistence. The greatest difficulty was experienced in procuring enough forage to keep the animals alive while the work of putting up the line was going on. I lost five out of twenty-two horses from starvation, and my men were at times two and three days without anything to eat. A full report of these facts was made to General Schofield, commanding the department, and the abandonment of the line from Camp Burnside to Clinton ordered by