defense strictly, and send what can be spared to this point, though it will be totally inadequate to the wants here.
The safety of this position is in the enemy's ignorance, if he be ignorant, for they seem to get late and correct information form us by illicit means through our own people. It may be that the very state of affairs so long existing on the Gulf has called out his heavy expedition not yet heard from, and which may strike us at any moment without warning. We must at every hazard force him to land and fight us in the open field. For this we are well prepared at Pensacola, except in eight artillery, for which the Ordnance Department has persistently promised and as persistently withheld all supplies. Here we are equally deficient in that and not very well off with infantry, but in both we possess some elements of improvement not heretofore available to me. I shall at once commence the manufacture of artillery harness, carriages, guns, and ammunition at this point, and hope soon to increase our efficiency-or rather decrease our inefficiency-in this essential arm. We need more cavalry for defensive operations at both points, but it s useless to call for them unless we are assured of arms.
A recent order from General Pillow, if we are correctly informed, will paralyze this arm of our service, if it does not starve us all out. A heavy rise in the provision market is already the result of this unfortunate move. With a rigid blockade in front and a stringent embargo behind on both provisions and munitions we occupy rather a perilous position. It may be well to inform the author of this move of our presence here and of the fact that we are engaged in the same cause with himself. I inclose the report of Mr. Hessee, quartermaster's agent here, on this subject. We are confidently assured of railroad connection within three week hence to Pensacola. This will greatly increase out ability to meet an attack on either place. With unity of sentiment and concert of action between the commanders mutual aid could be received and given with great celerity between this and the department west; but one common superior, if the Government has an officer of the requisite rank, would more effectually secure the same object, and greatly strengthen the defenses of the whole Gulf coast. On this point I submit a communication, indorsed by Brigadier-General Withers, in regard to a telegraph line on the Mobile and Ohio Railroad. I shall encourage its construction. Our lines on the coast can be destroyed at any time by the enemy.
Would it not be more healthful and comfortable, and equally as cheap, to concentrate near this place and Pensacola the unarmed regiments in Alabama in suitable camps of instruction, where they could be ready to receive the arms of the twelve-months' men soon to be discharged? They might be learning the artillery drill, too, which they cannot do where they are. The discharges will commence in three months, and the subject is worthy of early attention. The effort to raise troops here for local defense, sedentary military, is working badly, and should be abolished everywhere. Whenever we can get army we can get men for the war unconditionally. The two regiments of Colonels Buck and Crawford have consented to change their times and tenure of service, and are mustered in for twelve months.
Brigadier-General Withers is laboring hard and successfully. He has very properly suspended the grand scheme for squandering money by digging ditches around the city, which would have required 40,000 men to defend them, and has concentrated his means and labor on important points requiring the promptness attention and all his resources.