Warned by these acts, and the uniform tenor of hostile language employed in Congress against free action in the South, and the uniform assertion of the doctrine of passive obedience in the manifestoes of the executives of Northern States, and the open menaces that the incoming administration would carry out the same tyrannical purposes with even more rigor, I determined that the State of Louisiana should not be left unprepared for the emergency. She has a long and exposed frontier, on which the Federal Government possesses forts capable of being used for the subjugation of the country and to annul the declared will of the people. Near this capital, where the delegates of the sovereign people are about to assemble, was a military depot, capable, in unscrupulous hands, of being employed for the purpose of overawing and restraining the deliberations of a free people. On these grounds, respecting the manifest will of the people, and to the end that their deliberations shall be free, and their action supported by the full possession of the whole territory of the State, I decided to take possession of the military posts and munitions of war within the State, as soon as the necessity of such action should be developed to my mind. Upon information which did not leave me in doubt as to my public duty, and which convinced me, moreover, that prompt action was the more necessary in order to prevent a collision between the Federal troops and the people of the State, I authorized these steps to be taken, and they were accomplished without opposition or difficulty. In so doing I was careful to confine myself to such acts as were necessary to effect the object with the greatest certainty and the least risk of violence. In accordance with an arrangement entered into with the commanding officer, in the presence of a force too large to be resisted, Baton Rouge Barracks and Arsenal, with all the Federal property therein, were turned over to me on the 11th and 12th instant, and on the 13th the Federal troops departed. About the same time State troops occupied Fort Pike, on the Rigolets, and Forts Jackson and Saint Philip, on the Mississippi River, and such other dispositions were made as seemed necessary for the public safety. Receipts were given in all instances for the property found, in order ot protect the officers who were dispossessed; and to facilitate future settlement for the necessary expenses, I have drawn on the appropriation made by the last legislature for military purposes. A detailed report of these proceedings and of the expenditures incurred will be laid before you in a few days.
With a full sense of the responsibility I have assumed, the whole subject is respectfully submitted to the legislature. Soon after taking possession of the arsenal at Baton Rouge I received an application from the governor of Mississippi for aid in arms and munitions of war, in support of the sovereignty of that State against an apprehended attack of a similar character to that against which Louisiana had protected herself. The interests of the two States are so intimately associated in the common cause of the South, that I deemed it my duty, not only from considerations of courtesy to a sister State, but in further execution of my duty to Louisiana regarding the approaches of Federal troops from above, to comply with his request, upon the assumption on the part of the State of Mississippi of the same terms of responsibility taken by me for the State of Louisiana. I accordingly directed to be forwarded to the order of Governor Pettus the following munitions of war: 5,000 flint lock muskets; 3,000 percussion muskets; 1,000 Hall's rifles, flint locks; 200,000 cartridges, buck and ball; 1,000 pounds of rifle powder; 6 24-pounder guns and carriages; 500 24-pounder shot; 1,000 pounds cannon powder.