Army of the Atlantic States, and its Army of the Gulf of Mexico. Florida has upward of seven hundred men in the field at Pensacola. She has nearly two thousand more embodied under the last requisition of the War Department, equipped by the State, and ready to march whenever and wherever the President may order. She stands ready to sustain the Government and the war with her utmost strength. She asks in return that her sons may have their just share of the appointments to military service, the great incentive to young Southern men. On her own soiled or on any other soil she is ready to do her duty. Her men will, however, turn their faces from their homes with much more alacrity if the Government shall have initiated some system which will provide as far as may be for the protection of her coast.
I desire lastly to speak of the bays of Saint Andrew and Saint Joseph, in West Florida. The first of these is within a hundred miles of Fort Pickens, the other fifty miles further east. The depth of water is at Saint Andrew's eighteen feet, at Saint Joseph's twenty. Both afford the means of penetrating into Florida, Alabama, and Georgia. A single battery at the last-mentioned place would defend the harbor against incursions. I have to suggest to the Department that a competent engineer be sent to examine these bays and to report thereon.
It is not impossible that some of the ports of Florida, which by reason of their obscurity are not yet blockaded, may be made use of for the introduction of arms purchased abroad. Fernandina, on the Atlantic, and, in case of impediment there, Saint Andrew's or Saint Joseph's, would for this purpose be highly important, and I beg leave to call them to your attention in that point of view.
GEO. T. WARD.
MONTGOMERY, May 17, 1861.
Can you spare from Pensacola, without interfering with your plans, a portion of your infantry for Virginia? If so, what number, and will you designate the regiment?
L. P. WALKER.
PENSACOLA, May 19, 1861.
L. P. WALKER:
For offensive operations I require all I have. For mere defense I can send three regiments-one from Alabama and two from Georgia.
NAVY-YARD, FLA., May 28, 1861.
His Excellency JEFF. DAVIS,
Concurring fully in your suggestions,* I can spare twenty-five hundred men for Virginia and can start them immediately, well armed.