WAR DEPARTMENT, C. S. A.,
Montgomery, April 30, 1861.
Brigadier General BRAXTON BRAGG,
Commanding at Pensacola:
GENERAL: Apprehending that you might have construed the suggestions thrown out from this Department as to the erection of batteries on Santa Rosa Island, and as to the attack on Fort Pickens, into orders to proceed first to the occupation of that island, and next to an immediate bombardment and general assault of the fort, I write to say that as to both points I desire you will consult your own judgment and discretion. It is true that this Government considers the early reduction of Fort Pickens as highly important, but it is not desired that you will proceed until you shall feel assured of success through an entire confidence in your own arrangements, and the dispositions must be left with yourself, save when positively instructed.
L. P. WALKER.
HEADQUARTERS TROOPS OF CONFEDERATE STATES,
Near Pensacola, Fla., May 6, 1861.
Honorable L. P. WALKER,
Secretary of War, Montgomery:
From the tenor of my orders and instructions there has existed no doubt in my mind that the Department desired me first to secure the defense of my position here, and then the reduction of Fort Pickens, if practicable. No suggestion has been regarded as an order to proceed in any manner contrary to my own conviction, and no step has been taken which my own judgment has not approved; but I have felt it a duty to lay before you the means and sacrifices necessary to accomplish the object.
The change which has been made in my proposed plan of operations is the result of unavoidable delay, by which the enemy has been enabled to frustrate my first intentions. Fort Pickens is now more than twice as strong as it was three weeks ago, and the approaches to it will be made more and more difficult every day. They are now extending their operations on the island of Santa Rosa, and every hour will add seriously to the difficulties to be overcome. The importance of rapid movement on our part is very apparent if we are to proceed to the reduction of Fort Pickens, but it would be very bad policy to move until we are prepared to succeed. My plan for a lodgment on the island is arranged, and will be executed as soon as the means are available. In the present state of that work, with a garrison fully competent for its defense, and a support at all times ready at hand in the fleet, its reduction will cost us many lives, much time and labor, and a very large expenditure of money. Whether the end will justify the means the Department must decide.
My works on this side, both for attack and defense, are nearly completed, and preparations are going on for the island movement, but we are still deficient in many essentials. Five thousand sets of infantry accouterments are necessary for the preservation of our ammunition. It is now carried by the men in their pockets, and one day's hard service would destroy it all. A supply of musket cartridges is also a first necessity. Having yet had no response to my requisition of last March, I shall send an officer to Louisiana to see if some can be had at Baton Rouge. The present supply here would last me in an engagement about thirty minutes. Our best defense against the fleet-shells-cannot be used for want of fuses. Not one has yet reached me. These items are not mentioned
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