Headquarters of the Forces,

Richmond, Va., July 11, 1861

Brig. Gen. H. A. Wise,

 

Commanding, &c., Charleston, Va.:

 

General: In a letter received to-day from General Garnett, commanding Northwestern Army, he reports having learned from reliable sources that two thousand eight hundred men, who had been embarked on light draught steamers at Pittsburgh to operate in the Kanawha Valley, have been diverted from that purpose and landed at Parkersburg, from which place they have been advanced to Clarksburg and Buckhannon, and with other troops have taken up their position in his front. He thinks they will not attempt an invasion of the Kanawha Valley if made to apprehend danger of losing possession of the Northwestern Railroad and country, and that one of the most effective means of keeping that valley free is to give General McClellan full occupation where he now is. He thinks that if your column should move from Charleston direct upon Parkersburg it would merely have the effect of bringing further re-enforcements from Ohio; but if it were to march from Summersville, in Nicholas County, to Bulltown, in Braxton, both of which are loyal to our cause, it would be within a few days’ march of Weston, and would threaten both it and Buckhannon, and that the enemy would thus be divided, and might be struck at in detail. Communication with General Garnett can be had by way of Huttonsville. He estimates the enemy’s force at six thousand men; at Grafton, a few hundred; at Clarksburg, about three thousand; at Weston, two thousand; and at Cheat River Bridge, from two to three thousand; making a total of about seventeen thousand men. General McClellan was said to be in command at Grafton and General Morris at Philippi.

I have thought proper to give you the above information that you may be informed of the enemy’s supposed purposes on your right; and should you not find employment for your command in the Kanawha Valley, and think it advisable, you might concert measures with General Garnett for a united attack on the forces of General McClellan.

Respectfully, &c.,

 

R E Lee

General, Commanding

 

 

 

Source: The War of the Rebellion, Series 1, Volume 2, pp. 243-244

Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2017 November 13