WAR DEPARTMENT, C. S. A.,
Richmond, Va., January 27, 1862.
Major General MANSFIELD LOVELL,
New Orleans, La.:
SIR: The overwhelming pressure of business in this Department causes some unavoidable delay in correspondence. I now acknowledge the receipt of your letter of 13th, 15th, 16th, and 17th instant.
1st. Your letter of the 13th instant disclosed to me the fact that, by some unaccountable hallucination, I used the name of General Trimble instead of that of General Ruggles in my letter of the 6th instant. My intention was to say that the President desired you to place General Ruggles in command of the Mississippi coast, and I congratulate myself that this strange error of mine has not produced any disastrous result. I have read in the same letter with great interest your plans for the defense of your department, and am rejoiced to find that your vigilance leaves no exposed point without protection. Your powder returns, show less supply than I had hoped, but still sufficient, I think, to relieve us of apprehension till some of the supplies daily expected shall reach us from some quarter.
2nd. You are authorized to use your own in relation to the planing machine and lathe in the Belleville Iron Works. If the owners are unwilling to part with them by sale or hire, they must be impressed, if necessary for the public service, and on impressment you should give the owners the choice whether the impressment shall be by hire or purchase. If the owners wish, however, to use these machines themselves. I do not think the impressment would be justifiable.
3rd. The map and letter by Colonel Davis were duly received, and I thought I had acknowledged their receipt some time since.
4th. In relation to the distribution of arms between war men and twelve-months' men, although as a general rule we desire the best arms given to the former, we do not intend to preclude you from the exercise of a sound discretion in any exceptional cases, such as you suggest.
5th. If you arrest a Federal officer as a spy he is to be put to death without the slightest hesitation, in accordance with the Articles of War. Tyler's case, to which you refer, was not that of a spy; he did not go to a city threatened with attack, nor for any hostile purpose; he went simply to see and bring away his wife, and it would have been a barbarous outrage to have considered or threaded him as a spy.
6th. I have instructed General Joseph E. Johnston to open negotiations with McClellan, by flag of truce, for a general exchange of prisoners. As soon as I know the result I will try to relieve you of your prisoners.
7th. I have organized the two regiments, and made the nominations as proposed in your letter of the 17th instant.
I am, your obedient servant,
J. P. BENJAMIN,
Secretary of War.
GENERAL ORDERS, HDQRS. DEPT. ALA. AND WEST FLA., No. 23.
Near Pensacola, Fla., January 27, 1862.
I. The command of Brigadier General J. M. Withers will in future be known as the Army of Mobile, to include all troops in and about that city and south of it. Brigadier-General Withers is specially charged with the defense of the coast from Perdido to Pascagoula Rivers.
II. Brigadier General L. P. Walker, P. A., is relieved from his present duties