HDQRS. DEPARTMENT ALABAMA AND WEST FLORIDA,
Near Pensacola, Fla., January 14, 1862.
ADJUTANT-GENERAL C. S. ARMY,
SIR: By information from Ship Island to the 11th instant we learn the enemy are quiet and making to attempt yet at a location on the main-land. But a few vessels remained there, and the number of troops was not as large as had been supposed. Their gunboats are hovering about Pascagoula, Bayou Labatre, and Grant's Pass, probably to cut off our water communication with the troops at the former place.
Should they make a lodgment anywhere between Pascagoula and the Rigolets, it can only be for the mere name of the thing, as no movement could be made thence against any assailable point.
Should he land at Pascagoula or east of it, whatever numbers, I shall fight him at the earliest possible moment, and with confidence in the result.
I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT NO.1,
New Orleans, La., January 15, 1862.
Honorable J. P. BENJAMIN,
Secretary of War:
SIR: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your two letters of the 5th and 6th instant.
I sent you on December 5, by Colonel J. Davis, aide to the President, a map, with a descriptive letter, giving a summary of the defenses of the department as arranged at that date. I hope it reached you safely, as it has important information.
In my letter of the 13th instant the powder in this department was placed, in round numbers, at 115,000 pounds. A considerable quantity of this is not cannon powder, and, by reference to the letter of the 5th ultimo, you will see that are more than 300 heavy guns in this department, scattered from Calcasieu to Pearl River. I mention this in reference to the distribution of the powder by the Vanderbilt.
There is not a single 10-inch gun in this department. I can have some cast here in a few days, provided machinery can be had to bore them. The Belleville Foundery has two lathes large enough to bore 12 inches, but the foundery is shut up, and the parties will neither sell, hire, nor lend the lathes, hoping to compel the Government to purchase the works. In case I fail to negotiate for them, shall I take them, appraise, and pay for them?
Through Mr. Dunn and other sources I have collected (by purchase mainly) about 900 small-arms, half of which are double-barreled shot-guns. After perfecting as far as possible the arming of the war men, I should propose to exchange the shot-guns for some miserable muskets and carbines in the hands of twelve-months' troops. It would look badly to go into action with poor guns, while better ones were in our possession, merely because the men were not enlisted for the war. Besides, the war men generally are an inferior class of shots, while the twelve-months' men are nearly all well killed in the use of arms, and should be instructed with the best weapons. The rifles that I have collected