HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE OHIO,
Buckhannon, Va., July 6, 1861.
Colonel E. D. Townsend,
Assistant Adjutant-General, Washington, D.C.:
COLONEL: My advance guard, consisting of the Fourth and Ninth Ohio, Loomis’ Michigan battery, and Burdsal’s Ohio dragoons, under the command of Colonel R. L. McCook, moves at 4 a. m. to-morrow to seize the Middle Fork Bridge, twelve miles from here. The headquarters will follow as soon as the transportation arrangements can be completed-say by 9 a. m. Two regiments of Rosecrans’ brigade will move in the morning. Another regiment of Schleich’s brigade will in support of the advance guard but for an unfortunate blunder in sending out a scouting party without my knowledge. This party is in trouble, and I have been obliged to send out a large portion of the Third Ohio to cover its retreat.
I expect to attack the enemy on the 8th or 9th. He is intrenched on Rich Mountain. I have to-day ordered General Morris to advance in the morning from Philippi with his command (sixth-two companies and one battery) to within one and a half miles of the Laurel Mountain, where the enemy is strongly intrenched. His instructions are to observe them closely and to follow rapidly any movement in retreat, but not to attack until he hears that I have carried Beverly.
I have instructed General Cox to occupy ripley with one regiment, and to move with four on Charleston and the Gauley Bridge, the Ripley regiment supporting the movement. He is to reopen the navigation of the Kanawha, and when Gauley is occupied will open a communication with me via Summersville and Bulltown. Six companies are to occupy California, the county seat of Roane; four to hold Wirt County Court-House; six companies, Glenville; two, Weston; eight, Bulltown; four Frenchtown; two, French Creek. At least four will hold this place after we advance.
I hope the General-in-Chief will regard these orders as prudent and efficacious. I hope in a few days to occupy all that portion of Western Virginia that is in my department; to restore order; establish the authority of the provisional government, and to quell the secession feeling. I have taken the liberty of going somewhat beyond my department, and have instructed General Cox to occupy Barboursville and Guyandote. If circumstances permit, and the General does not object, I would be glad, after securing all the country north of the Great Kanawha, to move on Wytheville and cut off the railroad communication. I shall soon be prepared to do that or move on Staunton, as the General my direct.
Hoping that my movements may meet his approval, I am, very truly, yours,
GEO. B. McCLELLAN,
Major-General, U.S. Army, Commanding Department.
The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies. Series I, Vol. II. With additions and corrections. Washington: Government Printing Office, 1902.