HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF PENSACOLA, Near Pensacola, Fla., December 10, 1861.
Honorable J. P. BENJAMIN,
Secretary of War, Richmond, Va.:
SIR: The transfer of Colonel Wood's regiment, Seventh Alabama, to East Tennessee leaves me little over 6,000 arms here. With this number and my present means of rapid re-enforcement from Mobile I have no apprehension, but it leaves me a large number of men, near 3,000, without arms, and renders it impossible for me to comply with the wish expressed in yours of the 4th November for a transfer of some of my oldest and best troops to more active service. Could I give na assurance of such a move to these men I am satisfied it would have a happy effect inn causing many to re-enlist "for the war." Without such assurance and a short furlough to visit their homes but few can be secured. It would be a great misfortune of lose them, for they are the best troops I have ever known, all inferior men having been culled out. The artillery will be an especial loss, for it takes time and much labor to teach the duties of that arm. As most of my artillery officers of the regular service have been transferred to other and higher duties, I shall have to ask of the Department to allow me in some way to retain some of the best of those in the volunteers here, when their men are discharged, to act as instructors. The time of some of the companies of one of my best regiments (the First Alabama) expires in January, six weeks from now, as they claim from the time they entered the State service, and not their transfer to the Confederacy in March.
I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT Numbers 1, New Orleans, La., December 10, 1861.
General S. COOPER,
Adjutant and Inspector General C. S. Army:
SIR: When I assumed command in this department I found that a number of independent companies, originally mustered into the State service, had been transferred to the Confederate service at the request of General Twiggs.
Some of these companies had very poor officers, and in some cases the ranks were filled in part with men wholly unfit for military service; and the sifting out of these companies has in some instances reduced them below the number required.
What I desire to know is, whether, in companies thus reduced, and when the officers are manifestly incompetent, I cannot have the authority to break them up or to transfer the good men and let the officers be turned over again to the State authorities. I could thus add much to the efficiency of the service, while materially diminishing the expense in getting rid of inefficient and supernumerary officers.
Respectfully, your obedient servant,
Major-General, Commanding Department.