A letter from Colonel Chalmers, Ninth Mississippi Regiment (a very good officer), who was requested by me to try and reorganize his admirable regiment, may throw some light on the points of difficulty. If we had arms for my new men the promise they desire could be made, but in the absence of Colonel Wood's regiment we have only about 6,000 stand of guns. My reply tot he colonel tries to combat the idea of going north now. Wood's regiment is clamorous to return already. I shall not repair of success nor cease to strive, but he prospect is not very encouraging. Your plan of fixing a future date for discharge and commencement of new service will be tried.
The danger to Mobile which you suggest is provided for. Mounted men are stationed at the points where the enemy might land, with instructions to report any hostile demonstration, and all our infantry out of the forts and light artillery are in readiness for concentration on any point, and the telegraph could secure re-enforcement from here in ten hours. A thorough inspection by my staff offices is now going on in all the departments of General Withers' command, and I shall soon pay him another visit myself. I inclose a copy of a letter just received from him, upon which I ordered the closing of Grant's Pass effectually and unconditionally. The defenses of the sound have been sadly overlooked. As early as last May I called the attention of our friends in Louisiana to the subject. They replied the Navy Department had it in hand. If I may judge from what they have done here, but little has been accomplished. But this is a matter not within my providence, though I can but lament results.
I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
HEADQUARTERS OF ALABAMA, Mobile, December 9, 1861.
Major GEORGE G. GARNER,
Assistant Adjutant-General, Pensacola, Fla.:
SIR: The coast guard between this place and New Orleans is not such as the policy and interest of the Confederate Government demands. Several schooners and steamers have been captured of late. The steamer Lewis, from New Orleans to this place, with cargo of sugar and molasses, was captured about ten days since,a nd a part of her crew have returned here. From the engineer of the boat, a Mr. Haley, who has the reputation of being entirely reliable, I learn that, besides the cargo of the Lewis, Ship Island was covered with barrels of sugar, turpentine, molasses, and resin, and with lumber and cattle. The character of the molasses, and resin, and with lumber and cattle. The character of the lumber and cattle was such as to preclude the thought of those articles having been brought out from the North. When taken on board the enemy's vessel, he found the New Orleans papers of the preceding day's date on the table in the cabin. During his detention expeditions were sent out nightly, and which he believes were intended to keep up communication with the shore. A steamer to carry off freight runs regularly between the island and New York. This report is corroborated by all the information I have been able to bather from other sources. To crush out this evil I would suggest the propriety of closing Grant's Pass, as the most effectual way of removing all pretext for a coast trade so advantageous to the enemy. The battery there, removed to Cedar Point and strengthened, would command those waters, and not be subject to