cheerfully met this fate at the hands of the enemy, but from their own Government it is hard to bear.
I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
HDQRS. DEPT. OF ALA. AND WEST FLA., Numbers 18.
Near Pensacola, Fla., December 20, 1861.
The command of Brigadier General J. M. Withers is extended westward, so as to include Pascagoula Bay and that portion of Mississippi east of Pascagoula River.
By command of Major-General Bragg:
GEO. G. GARNER,
WAR DEPARTMENT, C. S. A., Richmond, December 23, 1861.
Major General MANSFIELD LOVELL,
SIR: I have the honor to acknowledge receipt of your two letters of 10th instant and one of 16th.
1. I entirely approve your forwarding the Thirteenth Louisiana and Third Mississippi Regiments to the aid of our commanders in Kentucky. While I do not feel at liberty, under present circumstances, to order unconditionally any troops to be sent from your department, I shall be most happy to learn that you can spare any for the aid of the generals in Kentucky, who are sadly outnumbered. Of course it us useless to call out any troops that you cannot arm, unless they are willing to enlist for the war and we want all armed men that will enlist for twelve months. I only require that you keep your returns up to date, so that I may be at all times advised of the entire resources at command of the Government in your department.
2. In relation to your question about the power to break up and reorganize companies, so as to get rid of incompetent officers, I have to say that under the acts of Congress company officers are always elective, and this right of the men must be kept steadily in view and always respected. Now you have done well to sift out the men unable to do duty and discharge them from the service. The companies thus reduced below the standard number may be disbanded at our pleasure if not filled up by other able men. We have no right to assign them to commanders whom they have not elected, but we have a right, with their consent, to consolidate them into new companies, and have new elections of officers. The best plan, it seems to me, is to get the men to agree to form new companies and re-enlist. On getting their agreement, muster the old companies out of service and new companies out of service and new companies into service at the same time, and let the latter elect their new officers. With your advice and influence they could readily be induced to elect competent officers; but the whole matter must be managed by concert with the men, and not be exercise of authority, for we have none.
3. On the subject of the iron of the Mexican Gulf Railroad I will write you again in a day or two. Mr. Gordon is here, and it is possible an
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