The New York Times,
THE TROOPS IN WESTERN VIRGINIA.; INTERESTING STATEMENT FROM GEN. ROSECRANS. THE GREAT REBELLION.
Published: November 10, 1861
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT WESTERN VA., TOMPKINS' FARM, Oct. 29, 1861.
His Excellency W. Dennison, Governor of Ohio:
Over these narrow mountainous roads our troops have been obliged to march from one point to another as they were threatened; carrying only the most absolate necessaries, in order not to endanger their safety by cumbrous wagon trains.
The clothing that began to arrive from the East early in September, for want of transportation, and on account of the uncertainty of the results of movements towards the rebels, could not be permitted to follow our troops in the march from the railroad southward, nor, except cautiously, to Cheat Mountain, while there was doubt of the ability of our troops to sustain themselves against the fearful odds reported to exist against them. When the battle of Carnifax and the repulse of the rebels at Cheat Mountain had settled the question of safety, orders were immediately dispatched to send forward clothing with the greatest possible dispatch.
Meanwhile, terrible rains came on, the roads became so bad that teams could not haul over half their usual load, and took a third longer to go the same distance. Hence three times as many wagons were necessary to perform the same amount of transportation. Provisions and ammunition were the first necessities, and clothing was obliged to follow as it could be sent. But our troops having been four or five months in the field, in rain and wet, over mountains and through forests, had worn out their clothes and shoes, and the cold rains made them feel their condition, and caused the sudden cry of suffering to be raised. The orders for forwarding clothing were duly attended to, as well as the obstacles from want of transportion would admit. The troops in this line fell back some twenty-four miles to increase the case of getting clothing and supplies, and are already pretty well provided.
As to the sickness among our troops. It has been by no means as great as might be supposed, varying from one to twelve per cent., and averaging less than four per cent. of the entire force. But the causes of the sudden and surprising increase of sickness are, doubtless.
First -- The great change in habits of life. Men accustomed to regular homes, good cooking and good beds, are suddenly subjected to exactly the reverse. Thrown into a forest country, exposed to rain, cold, heat, and night watchings, and toilsome marches, their strength became gradually impaired, and when the Autumnal weather set in, the feeble constitution began to yield.
The second cause is the want of proper attention to cleanliness and cooking in camp, due to inexperience and negligence of officers.
Comparatively easy on the score of clothing, and, except in a few instances, with improving health, we now await the proper time to strike a blow for our country.
Meanwhile what shall be done with contributions generously made for our relief and comfort. My advice is, that clothing and other things should be collected and safely stored until we go into Winter quarters or call for them to increase the comforts of our hospitals.
To make these collections available, invoices of them should be sent to the State Quartermaster-General, who will thereby become aware of what is to be had, and when informed of our wants draw on these stores for supplies.
Were clothing sent now to the troops, I fear most of it would be lost or cause other articles to be thrown or traded away for want of room in the knapsacks.
With high esteem, I have the honor be, very respectfully, your obedient servant.
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