hands. I am making every preparation to destroy them, so that whenever an attack is made, and it becomes necessary to retire, a few men can disable the guns, apply the torches, do the work of destruction, and escape unhurt. The enemy has no mounted troops on the island. If they had, it would take time to land them, and if the men left here, nearly all unarmed, could not escape, I think their capture would not be a very serious loss to the country.
My plan only differs your instructions to me in this, that I shall withhold, from you Colonel Jones and the 350 armed men he has for duty, and leave the work of destruction to be done when as overpowering attack is made, instead of before and when there is no indication of an attack. I have explained my views fully to General Anderson and Colonel Jones, and they approve them. Colonel Jones is wiling to undertake the task I propose to assign him, and believes he can manage it successfully. I submit it for your consideration.
The people of Pensacola and Mobile and all Alabama and West Florida, I hear, are greatly alarmed at the report that this place is to be abandoned to the enemy. I am sorry to say that the report of the intended evacuation reached Pensacola before your first instructions in the matter reached me. It seems impossible to keep any military secrets in this country.
I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT NO.1,
New Orleans, La., March 6, 1862.
Honorable J. P. BENJAMIN,
Secretary of War:
SIR: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letters of the 23rd, 24th, and 26th ultimo, which reached me yesterday.
1st. The river expedition is progressing well. Seven of the boats will be ready, except the gun, on Saturday, the 8th, and the remainder in a week from that time. We are working under many disadvantages, but no time is being lost. I shall be out of funds for that purpose in a few days. The appraisement of the ships was forwarded in my letter of the 27th ultimo.
2nd. I received telegram directing 20,000 pounds of cannon powder to be sent to Richmond. All the powder that came in the Vanderbilt, Victoria, and Miramon is small-grained, not cannon powder, and that by the first and last of those vessels requires to be revoked, with an addition of 15 per cent. of saltpeter. This department is being completely drained of everything, and I trust that the arrival of the Nashville will enable you to leave here all the powder that we have on hand. We have filled requisitions for arms, men, and munitions until New Orleans is about defenseless. In return we get nothing. Mobile and Pensacola-even Galveston-are defended by 10-inch columbiads, while this city has nothing above an 8-inch, and but few of them. The fortified line about the city is complete, but I have taken ten of the guns for the Navy and sixteen for the vessels that we are fitting up for the river expedition. My reliance to defend these lines will be upon militia, with double-barrelled guns and 32-pounder carronades. If now you take the powder from me we shall be in no condition to resist. The only thing to provide is a sufficiency of powder to enable us to resist a prolonged attack by ships and mortar boats upon two points-Forts Pike