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HEADQUARTERS FIRST CORPS, ARMY OF THE POTOMAC,

Near Centreville, October 25, 1861. General S. COOPER,

Adjutant and Inspector General, Richmond, Va.: GENERAL: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of a communication from the War Department, dated 19th instant, which, setting out with the assumption that an order of that Department had not been obeyed, calls for an explanation of the obstacles which have prevented "compliance with its order," and in reply to which I have to state, for the information of the Department, as follows:

Although satisfied that there were no arms in the hands of troops of this corps not required for the ultimate wants of the several regiments to which they had been issued, that is, which would not be needed by the returning sick and recruits, I directed the acting inspector-general of the corps—a field officer-to look after these alleged surplus arms, which he has done, so far as was practicable, and thus far with the result anticipated; that is, no really surplus arms have been found.

The constant shifting of regiments, however, their incessant occupation with outpost duties, and the daily engrossing incidents and engage. ments of the service of this army corps at this time, in the presence of a powerful enemy, making the execution of the order difficult, have led me not to give as much thought to this investigation as I might otherwise bave done, and have perchance unduly diminished its importance in my mind. I shall, however, detail another field officer to take up this investigation, and collect any arms he may find not in hands of men who require them. Meanwhile, in order that I may carry out the wishes of the Department as well as the letter of the orders in question, permit me to ask whether it is designed that arms of the absent sick shall be sent to Richmond or left to me (for my corps), to be disposed of under the existing practice; that is, according to the orders a copy of which I append. Respectfully, your obedient servant,

G. T. BEAUREGARD,

General, Commanding.

HEADQUARTERS FIRST BRIGADE, SECOND CORPS, A. P.,

Centreville, October 25, 1861. Hon. J. P. BENJAMIN, Secretary of War:

SIR: In reply to your letter (of 21st instant) informing me that I have been assigned to the command of " the Valley District of the Department of Northern Virginia," I have to express my grateful acknowledgment of the honor conferred, and my readiness promptly to comply with the order when received, though it separates me from the brigade which I had hoped to command through the war.

Availing myself of your kind offer to receive suggestions from me respecting the defense of that section of the State, I would, before visiting that region of the State, and ascertaining what troops, stores, and other means of defense are on hand, barely request that, if you bave a good and available engineer oflicer, you would direct him to report to me, and that you will, as far as practicable, send me troops for the war, and keep the supplies, especially of arms, beyond the immediate wants of the forces. Men are more ready to volunteer when told that they can be inninediately armed and equipped.

Hoping, through the troops and supplies that you may furnish, soon to see an efficient army in the valley, I remain, most respectfully, your obedient servant,

T. J. JACKSON, Major General, P. A. C. 8.

CENTREVILLE, October 25, 1861, General S. COOPER,

Adjutant and Inspector General, Richmond : GENERAL: I have had the honor to receive a copy of General Orders, No. 15 October 12).

Under that order all the cavalry of this army is to belong to the First Division, Major-General Van Dorn's. I beg this arrangement may be reconsidered by the administration. All the cavalry of the army is now employed on outpost duty. The officer at the head of that service (Brigadier-General Stuart) should be under the immediate orders of the commander of the army, and make his reports to and receive his instructions from him. In like manner, in battle, the commanding general must keep under his own control the largest portion of the cavalry, so that General Van Dorn's division would actually become the weakest in the atmy, although he is the senior major general, with high reputation. Should the cavalry be placed with a division of infantry, it must be kept out of position, either for its daily service of observing the enemy or to play its part in battle. Its pickets now cover a front of some 20 miles. To collect its regiments in a division on the right flank of the line would produce great inconvenience, wbile the loss of time in reporting to the general of division instead of to the commanding general might lead to disaster. For these reasons I respectfully suggest that the cavalry brigade be not included in any division, but left under the immediate orders of the commanding general, and that the First Division be increased by an equal force of infantry.

I regret very much that we have not cavalry enough to give Maj. Gen. E. Van Dorn a division of troops of that arm. Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

J. E. JOHNSTON,

General.

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SPECIAL ORDERS, 1 HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC, No. 462,

October 26, 1861. Brig. Gen. Cadmus M. Wilcox, P. A. C. S., is assigned to the command of the Fifth Brigade, Second Corps, Army of the Potomac, and will be obeyed accordingly. By command of General Johnston:

THOS. G. RHETT, Assistant Adjutant-General.

RICHMOND, October 27, 1861. Governor John LETCHER, Present :

DEAR SIR: We are in very urgent straits for powder, which is being required on all sides for the defense of the frontiers of Virginia. Dur. ing your absence the Secretary of State gave me an order for 500 barrels of rifle powder, to be sent at once to General Joseph E. Johnston, who made a pressing request for its immediate transmission, but I learn that your chief of ordnance has suspended the order. There are also 75 barrels of cannon powder in the Bellona Arsenal, which it would be very important to send to General Magruder for the heavy guns recently sent to Yorktown and Gloucester Point. Could you not do me the favor to put this powder at my disposal? I will settle for it on any reasonable terms, and it shall not be used out of the State. Yours, very truly,

J. P. BENJAMIN,

Acting Secretary of War. P. S.-I am told that you have four 12-pounder bronze howitzers not in use. General Johnston is constantly asking for howitzers, and I will send them also to him if you will let me have them.

RICHMOND, October 27, 1861. Maj. Gen. T. H. HOLMES,

Commanding the Department of Aquia : SIR: Intelligence has reached this Department from various sources that the Federal fleet in Hampton Roads, with 25,000 men, is destined for the Rappahannock River, with the view of executing a flapk move. ment upon your command. I think it proper to give you warning of the reported plan of attack, though the intimation of their intention to make such a movement may have been thrown out to conceal their real purpose.

Colonel (George E.] Pickett, at Tappabannock, has been written to, with orders to call out all the local forces he can inuster, armed with their own weapons, do the best he can, and wait your orders. Your obedient servant,

J. P. BENJAMIN, Acting Secretary of War.

RICHMOND, VA., October 27, 1861. General JOSEPH E. JOHNSTON,

Commanding Department of Northern Virginia: Sir: We have received from several quarters information that the enemy intend a movement in force up the Rappahannock, and that he has about 25,000 men in the fleet now concentrated at Fort Monroe for that purpose. This may be a feint, or tbe information, although coming from friends, may have been allowed to leak out with the view of deceiving us, yet it is of sufficient importance to be sent to you. I send a private note to Colonel Jordan, the adjutant of General Beauregard, by special messenger. The note incloses a communication in cipher, sent to the President from some unknown quarter, and the President has an impression that Colonel Jordan has a key which will decipher

If so, the contents will no doubt be communicated to you by General Beauregard, if of any importance. We have so many apparently reliable yet contradictory statements about the destination of this great expedition, that we are much at a loss to prepare defense against it. I have ordered up four or five unarmed regiments from Georgia and Alabama, and hope they will be here in a day or two. Let me know by telegraph how many you can arm, and I will send them at once. News from Europe to-day assures us of a very early recognition of our independence and of the breaking of the blockade. Your obedient servant,

it.

J. P. BENJAMIN, Acting Secretary of War.

HEADQUARTERS VIRGINIA MILITIA,

Winchester, October 27, 1861. General S. COOPER, Adjutant-General:

The enemy has driven Colonel McDonald's forces from their positions near New Creek and Romney. Many of them are on their retreat to Winchester. Major Funsten is at Blue's Hotel, hurt by a fall. He writes that it may be a general advance on Winchester. Most respectfully,

J. H. CARSON, Brigadier General, Commanding.

HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF KANAWHA,

Camp Dickerson, October 27, 1861. His Excellency the SECRETARY OF WAR:

Sir: The re-enforcements which have been, as I am officially informed, ordered to this command, have not, with the exception of Waddill's battalion of 300, made their appearance or been heard of; and owing to the inevitable hardship and exposures of active operations so late in the season, my force is daily diminished. I have not, it is almost unnecessary to say, attempted the inaneuver on the base of the enemy's lines to cut his supplies and communications, for my plans, as detailed in my last dispatch, đepended on an addition to my strength, which I nos begin to despair of receiving. I am at present busy in harassing and annoying the enemy in front of Cotton Hill, with the hope that he may be provoked to come and fight me in my position. Should he do so, I have no doubt of the result.

On the 24th of the month, after reconnoitering in person the river to Loop Creek, one of its tributaries, I dispatchel Colonel Clarkson, with 160 cavalry, farther down, into the counties of Putnam and Fayette, to neighborhoods known to be strongly disaffected, and in which polls had been opened for the first election of the counterfeit State of Kanawha. The expedition was highly successful; the election was broken up; the Unionists fired on and some of them killed, and 40 prisoners, notorious for their batred of the Confederacy and their robberies and cruelties to their secessionist neighbors, brought prisoners to my camp. Colonel Clarkson reconnoitered the Kanawha River for many miles, discovering several posts of the enemy, and firing into a steamboat laden with supplies on its way up to their camp. The pilot and other persons on it were killed or wounded and the boat visibly damaged, but for want of means to board we were unable to capture it.

I ain now preparing batteries on the mountain side which will conmand the road along the river to the enemy's camp, by which they receive their supplies after they leave the steamboat. I hope to open fire to-morrow morning, and think that they will cause such serious inconvenience and injury, that the enemy will perhaps cross and give me battle under the conditions which I demand for success. But if the enemy will not do so, and persists in holding on to his present position against all temptations and invitations, his force is so powerful, and mine so small, that I shall be unable to do anything with him unless the Department can prevail on General Lee to make a movement against his front. My march to this point is only part of a larger plan. By it General Lee, with his large army on Sewell Mountain, should have operated on the front of the enemy, while I made my way through a desert to attack his flank. I have done my part of this work, but I have not heard of General Lee's movements, and unless he should make them speedily, I fear that this campaign must end without any decisive result, and that all the force lately assembled around Sewell Mountain will be of no profit to the war.

In the mean time I await anxiously the views of the Department as to the proper winter quarters for the troops under my command. I have already placed the Department in full possession of iny own ideas, and pray that it may speedily decide upon them. I am, sir, your obedient servant,

JOHN B. FLOYD, Commanding Army of Kanawha.

CENTREVILLE, October 28, 1861. President DAVIS:

Informant in Washington says marine expedition is aimed at Cape Fear River and occupation of Wilmington, Smithville, and Fayetteville Arsenal, North Carolina.

THOMAS JORDAN,

Assistant Adjutant-General

RICHMOND, October 28, 1861. General JOSEPH E. JOHNSTON, Centreville :

Just heard from Norfolk that the enemy's great fleet is going to sea, thus indicating that the threat of attack on the Rappahannock was in. tended to deceive us.

J. P. BENJAMIN, Acting Secretary of War.

SPECIAL ORDERS,

No. 192.

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ADJT. AND INSP. GEN.'s OFFICE,

Richmond, October 28, 1861.

VII. Maj. Gen. T. J. Jackson, Provisional Army, is assigned to the coinmand of the Valley District in the Department of Northern Vir. ginia, and will proceed to establish his headquarters at Winchester, or such other point as he may select.

By command of the Secretary of War:

JNO. WITHERS, Assistant Adjutant-General.

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