at my disposal for that purpose? The total value of the steamers seized is about $600,000. I will inclose a schedule of the appraisement, with the remark that some of the owners have protested that the amounts allowed are not a fair price. Those objected to I had reappraised, and the board adhered to its first decision. No more should be allowed.
8th. I turned over to the Navy ten 42-pounders to arm their two gunboats for lake service, and hope that they will get them out pretty soon; but whether from want of funds or lack od systematic expenditures the credit of that branch of the public service here is so bad that it is almost impossible for them to get anything done. A few days since I wanted a crew for a boat to work on the lower rafts, but could get a man until they were satisfied that it was not intended service in the naval department. This is a serious embarrassment to them in their work.
9th. With some funds that I got from the city I bought, and am fitting up as launches, with one light gun each, twelve loggers, for a coast guard, to watch the enemy and prevent communication with the shore.
10th. I am a good deal delayed by the want of competent officers to assist me in the laborious details of this department. We want an ordnance officer here badly. Many things are necessarily kept back by having Major Smith perform the duties of engineer and ordnance officer, either one of which would tax a competent man to the utmost. It is neither justice to him nor to the service to make him responsible for such an immense and varied amount of detailed work.
With much respect, your obedient servant,
MOBILE, February 27, 1862.
J. P. BENJAMIN:
SIR: My troops are pressing forward. I leave to-morrow to join General Beauregard. There is the great danger.
HDQRS. DEPARTMENT ALABAMA AND WEST FLORIDA,
Mobile, February 27, 1862.
Honorable J. P. BENJAMIN,
Secretary of War:
SIR: Your written dispatch of the 18th, by the hands of Major Lewis, only reached me this morning, four days at least behind its time, and as much behind others who left Richmond on that day. The major tells me he did not start till the 21st, and as he is best a very slow man, perhaps he has done his best. Heavy movements of troops had already been made as far as our damaged roads would permit; but as your telegram did not indicate the extent to which we were to go, no arrangements had been made for abandoning any point.
Instructions to General Jones, commanding at Pensacola, go over to-day, and he will be urged to a hasty execution of the orders. Everything, public and private, is ordered to be destroyed which he is unable to remove and which might prove useful to the enemy; and the railroad as far as the junction to this city is to be destroyed, and the iron sent to Montgomery. By this means we may hold the enemy in check for some weeks at least.
Last week I sent a messenger to confer with General A. S. Johnston,