formation of a depot of supplies at Huntersville
, and the organization of a supply train, as a matter of first importance.
He appeared to overlook the fact that the line from Huntersville
, only forty miles long, was to be only temporary; for so soon as Cheat Mountain Pass was opened he would draw his supplies from Staunton
over the Parkersburg turnpike
, and also, that the country along his line abounded in beef and grain.
While General Loring
was preparing to advance, we will take a view of affairs in other quarters.
After the withdrawal of McClellan
, General Rosecrans
was assigned to the command of the Department of Western Virginia
At the same time a large portion of the troops in that department were withdrawn for the defense of the capital.
The Federal force in Western Virginia
, at the time General Loring
assumed command of the Army of Northwestern Virginia, was only about six or seven thousand men; about half of which, under the command of General Reynolds
, occupying the Cheat Mountain
The other portion, commanded by General Cox
, was designed for operations on the line of the Kanawha
was one of the most energetic and skilful of the Federal
As soon as he found himself in command of the Department of Western Virginia he set about increasing his force and strengthening his position.
, taking advantage of the political disaffection among the Western Virginians
, obtained many recruits, which, with recruits from other quarters rapidly increased his force.
The Confederate authorities in the meantime being informed of the advance of General Cox
to the Kanawha
, sent a force of about five thousand men to oppose him, under the command of General Floyd
, and appointed General Robert E. Lee
to the command of the Department of Western Virginia
He had displayed such remarkable administrative ability in the organization of the Virginia
troops that he was retained at the head of the Confederate
Military Bureau to the time of his appointment to the command of the Department of Western Virginia
Although aware of the difficulties to be met with in a country like Western Virginia
, whose mountains, and more than half of whose inhabitants were in hostile array on the side of a powerful adversary, he unflinchingly accepted it, and entered upon his arduous task with no other feelings than those for the good of his country.
When General Lee
arrived at Huntersville
he found General Loring
busily engaged forming his depot of supplies and organizing his transportation train.
Several days had already elapsed, and several days more would be necessary before he could complete his preparations for an advance.
The arrival of General Lee