War of the Rebellion: Serial 006 Page 0826 OPERATIONS IN W. FLA.,S.ALA.,S. MISS., AND LA. Chapter XVI.

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and stationed one in Bay Saint Louis and one in Biloxi Bay. The Secretary of the Navy requires that they be returned to Mobile, whence they came. Such accessories are very necessary on that coast, and I should like to have authority to use any funds that may be in my hands to construct two more, to replace those I have. I can get no assistance from the Navy, as they have no funds.


Mobile, Ala., February 15, 1862.

Honorable J. P. BENJAMIN,

Secretary of War, Richmond, Va.:

SIR: You will excuse me, at this time of great danger to our cause, for presuming to depart from my usual course and to offer a few suggestions on our future military policy.

1. Our means and resources are too much scattered. The protection of persons and property, as such, should be abandoned, and all our means applied to the Government and the cause. Important strategic points only should be held. All means not necessary to secure these should be concentrated for a heavy blow upon the enemy where we can best assail him. Kentucky is now that point. On the Gulf we should only hold New Orleans, Mobile, and Pensacola; all other points, the whole of Texas and Florida, should be abandoned, and our means there made available for other service. A small loss of property would result from their occupation by the enemy; but our military strength would not be lessened thereby, whilst the enemy would be weakened by dispersion. We could then beat him in detail, instead of the reverse. The same remark applies to our Atlantic seaboard. In Missouri the same rule can be applied to a great extent. Deploring the misfortunes of that gallant people, I can but think their relief must reach them through Kentucky.

2. The want of success with our artillery everywhere is deplorable; but I believe it can be explained and remedied. This arms requires knowledge, which nothing but study and experience combined can give. Unfortunately, many of our higher officers and a larger proportion of our men consider there is no duty to be done in this contest but to fight. Gallant to a fault, they ignore preparation, and exhaust their energies and time in clamoring for this fight. Calamitous results teach them too late the unfortunate error.

The enemy's light-draught gunboats require of us different defenses for our assailable points. An old-fashioned artillery will not answer. We must have long range guns to reach them, and they must be properly mounted, supplied, and served. Our 8 and 10 inch shell guns have my preference. The rifle gun I consider yet an experiment, not a success, except the light field piece-bronze; still* I use them an auxiliary. Whenever the enemy has brought his shell guns against our lighter metal, we have to yield. But at Pensacola we crippled and drove off two of his largest and heaviest armed ships with only two 8-inch guns in an open sand battery, served, it is true, by brave men, thoroughly instructed and directed by a competent artillery officer.

We must then oppose the enemy's heavy metal by the same, and put competent meant to mount, supply, and serve our own guns. If we have not the guns, it is better, to yield the positions than to sacrifice our men and means in a futile attempt at defense. And when you have the guns,