HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT Numbers 1, New Orleans, La., December 10, 1861.
General S. COOPER,
Adjutant and Inspector General:
SIR: After great delay and many blunders I have succeeded in getting up a return* of the troops in my department for the month of October. It is not as accurate as it should be, but will give you an approximate idea of the force here. I have sent the Thirteenth Louisiana and Third Mississippi Regiments to Columbus at the earnest instance of the generals in command there, but have called upon Governor Moore for two regiments to replace them, which I have ordered to be mustered. I do not know whether this exceeds my authority or not; if it does, please give me the necessary orders, as I want all the men I can arm. The November returns shall not be delayed so long.
Respectfully, your obedient servant,
Major-General, Commanding Department.
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF PENSACOLA, Near Pensacola, Fla., December 11, 1861.
Honorable J. P. BENJAMIN,
Secretary of War:
SIR: Yours of the 2nd only reached me yesterday. It will relieve some embarrassment with two Mississippi regiments which had elected field officers. Upon a critical examination of all the new regiments for service. All such have been promptly discharged. It does not weaken our strength, and materially lightens our expenses, especially in the medical department.
The regiment of independent companies was on the eve of organization when your order for one company (Captain Coopwood's) to join Colonel Dowd's regiment at Savannah checked it. Some imposition has been practiced in this case. I shall apply to the governor of Mississippi to send me another company to fill the regiment. It is suffering much fir want of organization.
Great difficulties are being encountered in reorganizing our old men for the war. I inclose a circular issued tot hem some three weeks since. It produced some effect for a while, but no result so far. Our fight, I fear, has injured the prospect. Men wish to go home and talk over their deeds with friends and families. I shall now try by liberal offer of furloughs. As they are to go anyhow, it will be as well to let them go on furlough, and they will not be able to stay. The women will not tolerable it. Many return who have gone off sick, and say it is impossible to stay at home. It is a mare indefinite fancy to get away, and be clear of the restraints of military control for a while. They will soon repent and rejoin the service, but the loss of organization and expense of getting them back will be great. Though my discipline has been rigid, I think I can safely say it has not driven a desirable man from the service, and most of them are now better men and better soldiers, and more attached to me, than if they had been allowed liberty and license.