nolds and such other outposts not necessary for observation at the front. Send back your heavy guns, surplus ammunition, and subsistence, retaining only such force and as will constitute what Major-General Halleck designates as a lookout, which can readily, and without inconvenience, fall back to Harper's Ferry before a superior force.
I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Lieutenant-Colonel, and Chief of Staff.
WESTON, W. VA.,
June 10, 1863.
Commanding Middle Department:
MY DEAR GENERAL: A copy of the communication from the War Department to yourself, declining to send any cavalry from the Army of the Potomac to your department, reached me to-day. I beg that you will permit me, general, in this unofficial way, to express my regret that your efforts, dictated by a thorough knowledge of our necessities, have been so poorly understood, and that your want of success in obtaining the cavalry should have been announced in the manner of The letter before me. That the cavalry in the Army of the Potomac are engaged in protecting or defending the frontier of Pennsylvania, need not, I think, have been mentioned. The same remark could have been made of the cavalry with General Banks or of the iron-clads off Charleston. It strikes me that our defense, however, should generally be arranged in the vicinity of the point of attack. I have not the experience, position, or ability to make i proper for me to indulge in criticism, but it has always appeared to me that the importance of holding this mass of mountains, so full of fastness and making such a vast re-entrant angle in the front of the enemy, has never been appreciated. With an adequate and properly organized force holding these mountain ranges, it would be a difficult, perhaps hazardous, matter for the enemy to pursue their seesaw strategy in shifting masses from their right to left, and vice versa, as they have done the past two years, and are undoubtedly doing now. But I hope, general, to have a force of our own creation in a short time, with which something can be accomplished. There would not be much ground for apprehending any operation of the enemy on either flank of these mountains if they were properly held. Trusting that you will excuse this encroachment upon your time,
I beg you will believe me, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
WM. W. AVERELL.
HDQRS. THIRD DIVISION, EIGHTH ARMY CORPS, Charleston, W. Va.,
June , 1863.
Lieutenant Colonel W. H. CHESEBROUGH,
Asst. Adjt. General, Eighth Army Corps:
The following information as to the strength and disposition of the forces in our front is considered as reliable as it is possible for such