of mounted men, too, would be well there. Your largest gunboats (Bradford should be at or near this position every night, to bring off this small force in case of a heavy attack. Withdraw the two guns, one 8-inch and one 10-inch, and send both to this place, with carriages and implements, at once.
I have information, considered perfectly reliable, that the enemy will attack this place by a large fleet of gunboats in a very short time. Forts Gaines and Morgan, 3 miles apart, cannot prevent their entrance of a dark night, and the whole width is open to them-9 feet water from fort to fort. We are erecting some batteries around the city and one at Blakely, to keep them off in case they enter, and preserve our railroad connection with you. I would abandon the hospital at Deer Point and send the sick daily to the hospital in Pensacola, putting Surgeon Gamble, Florida regiment, in charge. Surgeon Flewellen, Fifth Georgia, should go on and join his regiment, which will go to East Tennessee as soon as the people of the country in North Alabama can be rallied to the defense of their own homes.
General A. S. Johnston, from whom I heard yesterday, feels confident of holding Fort Donelson and driving the enemy from the Tennessee soon. Our disaster at Roanoke Island is much more serious.
Yours, respectfully and truly,
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT NO.1,
New Orleans, La., February 12, 1862.
Honorable J. P. BENJAMIN,
Secretary of War:
SIR: I received yesterday your dispatch directing me to send 5,000 men to Columbus. I have already sent one (the Thirteenth), and shall move five more regiments in two days (Ruggles' entire brigade) with a field battery. I shall order General Ruggles to go on in command of them, and shall go to work at once to endeavor to organize a force for the defense of the interior lines from the volunteers and militia of this city and State. Unfortunately, the legislature passed a law at its late session reorganizing the whole militia, which has to be done at a very inconvenient moment, but I am in hopes that most of the volunteers will elect their company and field officers on the instant, so that we shall soon have a force on hand. I regret the necessity of sending away my only force at this particular juncture, and feel sure that it will create a great panic here, but will do my best to restore confidence by a show of strength.
You have never sent me any orders about the distribution of the Vanderbilt's powder. General Hebert has one-half, and a part of the remainder arrived here lately. On proof, it was found to back 15 per cent. of saltpeter; but I can work it all over in twelve days and make it into good powder. We shall have about 40,000 pounds. I gave Commodore Hollins 3,500 pounds of my own stock to go up the river, and General Bragg has sent to me for some of that by the Vanderbilt. I shall make it go as far as I can.
Respectfully, your obedient servant,
P. S.-I borrowed from the Navy two launches, armed with one gun each, which I manned with crews from the Third Mississippi Regiment,