War of the Rebellion: Serial 006 Page 0827 Chapter XVI. CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.-CONFEDERATE.

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it is equally futile if they are handled by incompetent troops. From reports which reach us, it would appear that at least half our guns are rendered useless the first hour, from different accidents, not attributable to the enemy, but to a want of knowledge, skill, or attention on our own part.

We have the right men, and the crisis upon us demands they should be in the right places. Our little army at Pensacola could furnish you hundreds of instructors to build batteries, mount guns, and teach the use of them. Our commanders are learning by bitter experience the necessity of teaching their troops; but a want of instructors is sadly felt.

Pardon me if I have been too free in the expression of my feelings and opinions, and attribute any error to an oversell in the great cause we all have at heart.

I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

BRAXTON BRAGG,

Major-General, Commanding.

RICHMOND, VA., February 16, 1862.

General MANSFIELD LOVELL,

New Orleans:

Your letter of the 6th instant received. Your course in relation to General Ruggles approved. If you have not yet sent the troops to Columbus, as advised by my dispatch, let them stop at Memphis, and send telegram so informing General A. S. Johnston. The great line of attack by the Cumberland River may make it necessary to send the troops eastward from Memphis instead of sending them to Columbus.

J. P. BENJAMIN,

Secretary of War.

RICHMOND, VA., February 16, 1862.

General MANSFIELD LOVELL,

New Orleans:

Send every musket by the Victoria at once to Grand Junction, subject to orders of General A. S. Johnston. Send an agent with them to force them forward by express. Inform General Johnston of what you have done and of the kind of arms and such details as will enable him to prepare ammunition for them in advance. Inform me of what you do and the number of arms sent.

J. P. BENJAMIN,

Secretary of War.

RICHMOND, VA., February 18, 1862.

General BRAXTON BRAGG,

Mobile:

Your dispatch just received.* Commence immediately the movement you suggest for aiding General Johnston. I will send you our views and plans by messenger to-morrow.

J. P. BENJAMIN,

Secretary of War.

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* See p.894.

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