The only person with whom Mr. Mills came in collision was a watchman at the warehouse, appointed by the agent of the owners of the press.
The conduct of Lieutenant Mills in the taking of an armed force to procure the coal and making use of property belonging to the press without first obtaining the consent of the agent was highly reprehensible and altogether unnecessary.
I shall make an official report of the facts to the commandant of this naval station, located at New Orleans, under whose orders I am placed in charge of naval affairs here.
With regard to your threat to "arrest the whole of us" (meaning, I suppose, the entire naval force here), I take this occasion to inform you that, although may be clothed with the military power to execute it, you certainly have not the authority; and that, while I shall always be happy to comply with any request may make to me, I shall by no means hold myself amenable to your orders, as I am attached to a branch of the public service over which you have no command.
I am, sir, respectfully, your obedient servant,
J. D. JOHNSTON,
Lieutenant, C. S. Navy, in Charge of Naval Station.
WAR DEPARTMENT, C. S. A.,
Richmond, Va., January 9, 1862.
Major General BRAXTON BRAGG,
SIR: Your several favors of the 3rd* and 4th instants are before me. I regret very much to hear of the deficiencies in your means of defense at Mobile, and will do everything I can to aid you. I have ordered the Chief of Ordnance to forward you every musket he can gather together as fast as possible; but we are so sadly deficient, that I fear it will be two or three weeks before you receive a quantity sufficient to arm one or two regiments.
I bought all the powder that arrived per the Vanderbilt, and hope soon to have it in New Orleans, when you shall have enough of it to relieve your most pressing wants. I am in daily hopes of a large additional supply from another source. In the mean time, if the attack is made on you first, I shall telegraph General Lovell to send you a part of his stock, to be replaced when that by the Vanderbilt reaches the city.
We are sadly pressed for competent officers, and I am equally surprised and indignant to learn to the conduct of General Anderson, and heartily concur in your decision not to overlook it.
On consultation with the President, and after a survey of all our resources, we have detached General Samuel Jones from the Army of the Potomac, and shall order him at once to report to you for service at Pensacola. I think you will feel safe when compelled to absent yourself from Pensacola.
To aid you in Mobile we have nominated Colonel Jackson brigadier-general, as recommended by you; and, although he is ranked of course by General Walker, you will find means to give him such command as will enable him to relieve you of much anxiety in getting your troops in proper order.
* See p.497.