Today in History:

1011 Series I Volume II- Serial 2 - First Manassas


shoes and horseshoe nails be furnished at once, and that an additional force of farriers be sent to me to shoe the horse of my command, many being unfit for service at this time for want of shoes and the number rapidly increasing. Nearly every horse in the command requires the attention of a farrier at this time.

I forgot to state in relation to the negroes that unless specially directed by the general I will not deem it necessary to remove more negroes to Williamsburg.

I am, major, very respectfully,


Colonel, Commanding.


Four miles west of Lewisburg, August 1, 1861.

General R. E. LEE, Commanding, &c.:

SIR: I am here, falling back to Covington, under orders left to my discretion by General Cooper. My situation in the Kanawha Valley was critical in the extreme. After the Scarey affair the enemy fell back and were re-enforced strongly. They increased to five thousand. At Gauley I had one thousand; at Coal, one thousand; and at Elk, and within two miles thereof, about two thousand. Thus divided, necessarily the enemy could attack, when he chose, double or quadruple my numbers, with far better arms and supplies. I found they were collecting some fifteen thousand troops at Weston and moving to Summersville, at the same time moving up the Kanawha Valley and jamming me at any point I might select to occupy. I determined upon a prompt retreat, where my forces could co-operate with Generals Loring or Floyd. In thirty minutes after we fell back from Tyler's Mountain the enemy took possession, and nearly succeeded in cutting off seven hundred of Colonel Tompkins' command at Coal. They escaped, and burned the steamer on which they were moving up the river. Save an accident from the defiant disobedience of orders by the lieutenant of the McCullough Rangers, losing some baggage and causing the death of one of my sick and the wounding of several of my men, the retreat has been, upon the whole creditably in order.

We left Charleston last Wednesday week [July 24] and Gauley last Saturday, destroying the bridges there behind us. This I was obliged to do by the great deficiency of transportation, owing to gross inefficiency of the quartermaster's department of my brigade. I have come on slowly. The men had been marched an countermarched very much, and were sore and sadly worn-out in shoes and clothing and suffered for want of tents. We arrived here yesterday, leaving a strong rear guard of four infantry companies, attached to two hundred and fifty cavalry. The are scouting the enemy to their teeth. Last night my scouts reported that they are moving on in three divisions, converging from Fayetteville, Gualey, and Summersville to a point on this turnpike a few miles back.

At Weston they have a force of fifteen thousand, and from Huttonsvile movements are made to join those from Weston at Summersville, to concentrate some ten thousand troops on this road, directly moving on Lewisburg. We will check them all we can, but a force far larger and better organized than mine is as yet must be sent to do it effectually. From Charleston to this place the State volunteers under my command lost from three to five hundred men by desertion. But one man deserted