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[170] number of the substantial citizens assembled, but the General failed to appear, and I made them a speech. I think I took the right ground with a view to your instructions, and the meeting adjourned after adopting a resolution recommending the formation in every neighborhood of companies to assist at a moment's warning in repelling any invasion. I am promised such assistance, but as the county is sparsely settled, with two volunteer companies in the service, I do not expect much assistance from that source, except in conveying information of the approach of the enemy. There may be forty men raised in the Little Levels, who will render efficient aid. I now scout to the blockade, and this company from the Little Levels, when organized, promises to scout beyond. I have adopted vigorous measures to bring in the absentees, and expect to have them all in in a few days. The two cavalry companies number seventy-two men fit for duty. The two infantry companies number forty-one men fit for duty. In all, I have now one hundred and thirteen men fit for for duty. I suppose the two companies from Colonel Goode's regiment will increase my force one hundred. When the absentees fit for duty are in I will have about forty more. My force then will be about two hundred and fifty. This force I regard insufficient for complete defense and to restore confidence. Although this county is one of those included in the bogus government, I do not expect the enemy to attempt any permanent occupation this winter, as they would be too far from their supplies. Yet they may, if a small force is left here, send enough force to rout us and then return to their strongholds. We have reliable information that at Beverley there is Colonel Ford's 32d Ohio regiment, numbering 700—no artillery. At Huttonsville, Colonel Jones' 25th Ohio regiment, 800 men—two pieces of artillery. At Crouch's, 2d Virginia regiment, Colonel Moss, six companies, 400 men—one piece of artillery. The other companies of the regiment are on an expedition having in view the rout of guerrilla parties. At Cheat, 9th Indiana, General Milroy, 700 men—two or three pieces of artillery. There is no account of the return of the Yankees at Elk since the recent raid. Scouts have returned who were as far as Marshall's Store, five miles beyond Valley Mountain. On the retreat of the Yankees they burned the houses in the region of Big Springs. This position cannot be sustained successfully with a small force unless there is a force at the bridge, seven miles from here. There is a necessity for a force here to protect the stores and the rear of a force at the bridge. Two hundred men with one piece of artillery at the bridge, to be reinforced

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Thomas Moss (1)
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