to contract for working some of the idle saltpeter caves in the adjoining States. Of sulphur and charcoal we have a supply.
The want of powder is our only glaring deficiency. I do not allow an ounce to be burned unnecessarily, and am straining every nerve to add to our supply. If I can get saltpeter, and the enemy will give us a few weeks, which I think he will do, we shall be pretty well prepared to defeat him. With 100 rounds per gun I should feel pretty safe.
Respectfully, your obedient servant,
HDQRS. DEPARTMENT ALABAMA AND WEST FLORIDA, Mobile, October 25, 1861.
ADJUTANT-GENERAL C. S. ARMY,
SIR: As indicated in my dispatch of the 22nd, I left Pensacola that night, and arrived here on the 23rd. After a long and free interview with General Withers on the state of his command, it was arranged to visit the defenses, which was done yesterday.
A small battery is being erected on piles at the junction of Mobile and Tensas Rivers, not far from the city, which may have a beneficial effect in preventing boat expeditions should the enemy enter the bay.
At Grant's Pass a small earthwork has been erected, and furnished with three guns and a garrison of one company. This is probably sufficient for the purpose of keeping this pass open to our steamers still allowed to run to New Orleans. As the p lace is not susceptible of successful defense against any large attacking force, I directed the hull of an old vessel we own here to be heavily ballasted and anchored there, ready to close the pass at a moment's notice, and a practicable ford to be staked out by which the garrison can reach the main-land.
Fort Gaines is rapidly approaching a condition for strong defense, but is almost destitute of guns and ammunition. Demands long since made for both meet no response. It is of little or no importance except to prevent the enemy from using the island against us, being about 2 1\2 miles form the channel. With a view of preventing a landing on the island an outwork is in progress, some 3 miles off, and masked by intervening woods. Deeming this a weakness, by dispersing our forces and armament, I directed its discontinuance. The completion of the fort will be pushed vigorously, and the armament increased as rapidly as possible. Two large brick buildings, three stories high, but inside the fort, apparently as a mark for the enemy's fire, to mask the field of our guns, or to furnish splinters and brickbats for the destruction of the garrison, I have directed to be demolished at once. The temporary quarters, of wood, badly located and much dispersed, are to be concentrated in a proper position.
Fort Morgan is in a better condition, though not half armed, and with a very limited supply of ammunition. In rough weather, and especially during the north winds of winter, boats cannot land at the wharf at this post. Another wharf is being constructed some 3 miles off, at Navy Cove, and a railroad laid to it from the fort. three sand batteries are being constructed for the defense of this position. Fort Morgan is the key to Mobile Bay, and must be held with a heavy armament and ample supplies. I shall at once reduce my position at Pensacola to one of