ized with field officers. The men are recovering from measles, and it is thought imprudent to send them north at this season. This will give you an opportunity to reward such of your officers as you many think most worthy with field appointments. Send in a list recommendations for appointments. Send in a list of recommendations for appointments of field officers for these regiments, and I doubt not the President will be glad to avail himself of the opportunity of testifying his sense of the merits of those officers who have cheerfully borne with you the dull routine and cheerfully watch of Pensacola without a murmur. You know that such appointments are made under act Numbers 155, second session, and are temporary in their character. They expire at the end of the war, and the officers then resume their regular position in the permanent Army. As soon as it is ascertained that no attack is to be made on you by the enemy's naval expedition, I hope you will send us in the place of those new regiments those of your present forces who have served longest and seem to you best to merit removal to more active field service.
Yours of the 25th ultimo* to Adjutant-General, with its enclosures, is received. I have written to General A. S. Johnston on the subject of the interference by General Pillow with the forage collected for General Withers' command. I recognize the justice of his complaint, and trust that no further occasion of like character will require action on the part of the Department.
I fully concur in your strictures on the local-defense system, but you are mistaken in supposing that the Confederate Government can do anything to prevent it. The difficulty lies with the governors of the States, who are unwilling to trust the common defense to one common head. They therefore refuse arms to men who are willing to enlist unconditionally for the war, and put these arms in the hands of a mere home militia, who are not bound to leave the State. It is a very untoward condition of things, but as we have no arms, and the State authorities will not give us the control of the matter, we are forced to accept from them just what they choose to give. Still worse, they are accepting and arming men for local defense for six or twelve months, and thus breaking up our volunteer regiments that were offering for the war, in order to get form us such arms as we could supply. All this is sad, but I know not how to avoid it. Each governor wants to satisfy his own people, and there are not wanting politicians in each State to encourage the people to raise the cry that they will not consent to be left defenseless at home. The voice of reason, which would teach them that their home defenses would be best secured by a vigorous attack on the enemy on his own frontier is unheeded, and a clamor is raised against us for not attacking the enemy in front by the very men who are depriving us of the possibility of such a movement, by withholding the arms necessary for re-enforcing our little Army, that is so fearfully outnumbered that I dare not give you the figures. I have entire confidence that you will do all that skill and energy can effect with your own insufficient means, and will to the utmost of my power aid in all measures that you may devise for the security of the department committed to your charge.
I am, your obedient servant,
J. P. BENJAMIN,
Acting Secretary of War.