that O. G. Parsley & Co., of Wilmington, N. C., have bought the whole stock of iron of Weed, Connell & Co., the principal importers and holders of iron in this city, at the market price at which it has been sold to the Government. He has left the it on here, with directions that it be sold at double the former price, 12 and 16 cents per pound. I have directed that all iron required by the Government should be taken and paid for at the original price. This seemed to be such a palpable act of speculation, that it ought to be stopped.
I report the facts, that you may bring the matter to the notice of the Secretary of War, as the practice may be extended to other points.
I am, &c.,
R. E. LEE,
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT, &C.,
Savannah, Ga., February 6, 1862.
Honorable J. P. BENJAMIN,
Secretary of War, Richmond:
SIR: The replacing the troops in the Confederate service in this State is a matter of serious consideration. The period of service of several companies serving the batteries for the defense of the city of Savannah is about to expire. One that was mustered out of service a few days since at Fort Pulaski declines to re-enter the service, and it is supposed that others will be equally averse. The loss of these companies at this time will be a serious injury to the defense of the city, as artillerists cannot be made on the eve of a battle. But the prospective injury to the service, I fear, will be equally great, as neither the sentiment of the people nor the policy of the State seems to favor the organization of troops for Confederate service. I have thought it probable that the influence of the Department might be able to avert the evil I apprehend.
I have been very anxious to assign another general officer to duty with the troops in the State of Georgia. At the time the officers of that grade reported to me an attack on the Carolina coast seemed so imminent and it was so unprovided that all re-enforcements were assigned to its defense and every effort made to prepare the troops for their duty. The movements of the enemy for the last week indicate Savannah as the threatened point of attack, but I do not think it safe to withdraw troops from Carolina. I have no one to place in charge of the body of troops guarding the approaches from the Ogeechee to Savannah. The troops are fresh, officers new in the service, and all require instruction. If some instructed officer could be spared me I should be greatly relieved. I have already mentioned General Heth and Colonel Stevenson, but have been informed they were elsewhere, and I can name no one not disposed of. I therefore leave the matter to the Department.
I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
R. E. LEE,
RICHMOND, February 7, 1862.
General BEAXTON BRAGG,
General Lee says he understands there are twenty heavy guns at Pensacola that could be spared. If this is true, send him any you can spare to Savannah.
J. P. BENJAMIN,
Secretary of War.