WAR DEPARTMENT, C. S. A., Richmond, November 17, 1861.
Major General MANSFIELD LOVELL,
DEAR SIR: I have your letter of the 8th instant, and am happy to learn that the saltpeter has been received in New Orleans. I beg your special attention to the manufacture, as from imperfect refiring of the saltpeter much of the powder made at different points absorbs moisture so rapidly as quickly to become worthless. Our supply of powder and of material for its manufacture is so small, that it would be really a calamity to exhaust our material and find the powder valueless.
I received your former letter in regard to the quantity of powder required in your department, and am anxiously awaiting the promised report of the ordnance stores on hand, for there was, of course, quite a quantity of powder on hand before the saltpeter was sent. I beg you will have made for me as early as possible a complete official return of all "ordnance and ordnance stores" in your department, as it is impossible for me to introduce regularity into the administration of this are not furnished that makes me reluctant to respond to requisitions.
I have also learned to regard with great district the statements of manufacturers of what they are going to make. A statement of the actual results of one week' work in the powder-mills in New Orleans would be far more satisfactory than any number of assurances of prospective efficiency. I see no objection to your employing a farrier, if necessary, for your company of light artillery. The law, however, does not permit the enlisting of such an artificer to any other than cavalry companies. In regard to Dr. Burke's case, I beg you to inform him that many such cases exist, but I cannot remedy them until I get authority from Congress, which I am now about to ask and hope to send you another copy as amended. I am much gratified to hear of your rapid progress in perfecting the defenses of New Orleans, and especially from different friends of your success in inspiring confidence amongst our people.
Your obedient servant,
J. P. BENJAMIN,
Acting Secretary of War.
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF PENSACOLA, Near Pensacola, Fla., November 17, 1861.
ADJUTANT-GENERAL C. S. ARMY,
SIR: In a letter from the Secretary of War I am informed that the three regiments of Mississippi volunteers to be ordered here are not organized, and I am desired to make recommendations for field officers. The inclosed rosters of field officers will show you there is some grave misunderstanding about the two regiments which have arrived.* They claim, too, that their service dates from August 24 last, when called out by the State, leaving them only nine months to serve.
In regard tot he companies to compose the other regiment for the war I sent you a telegram from Major Hessee, reporting their refusal to come. Yesterday I was called on by Colonel Dowd, claiming to be colonel of