farther to the interior as soon transportation by railroad can be provided.
I hear that an officer of the Navy has been for some time engaged in building two gunboats at or near Milton, and that they are now nearly ready for service. He should be immediately informed of the condition of things as you know them to be here, and warned to be constantly on the alert, to prevent them falling into the hands of the enemy. If he cannot take them up the Escambia or place them beyond the reach of the enemy, he should burn them as soon as he hears that this place has fallen into the hands of the enemy, and measures should be taken to give him the earliest possible information on the subject.
It is probable that an attempt will be made to run the Bradford and Nelms into Mobile Bay, and it may be that they could tow the two gunboats on a dark night into Mobile Bay. You are better able to judge of that I can. Under no circumstances should they be allowed to fall into the hands of the enemy.
No time should be lost in carrying out the foregoing suggestion. The quartermaster in Pensacola will give you all the aid he can in moving the naval stores.
I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT NO.1,
New Orleans, La., March 9, 1862.
Honorable J. P. BENJAMIN,
Secretary of War:
SIR: In obedience to your orders, I have sent forward to Tennessee, besides the Thirteenth Louisiana, already detached, the following regiments, viz: the Sixteenth, Eighteenth, Nineteenth, and Fourth Louisiana, and the Seventh Mississippi Regiments. The Twentieth will leave on Tuesday. Gibson's and Vaiden's field batteries have also gone forward. In addition, Governor Moore has sent the Crescent Regiment and Fifth Company Washington Artillery, and the Orleans Guard Battery, with three companies of that battalion, will go in a few days, all nominally for ninety days; but there is every reason to believe that once in the field they will remain. These troops have all been fitted out completely by the State. I have only furnished ammunition, subsistence, and transportation. One or two independent companies will probably join Beauregard in the same manner.
The four Mississippi companies of Hardcastle's battalion which were here I have ordered to join their own corps, now with General A. S. Johnston.
You will thus perceive that this department has been completely stripped of every organized body of troops. To replace them I have called upon Governor Moore for 10,000 volunteers militia for the defense of the lines about New Orleans, which call, I hope, will meet with the approval of the Government. Persons are found here who assert that I am sending away all troops so that the city may fall an easy prey to the enemy.
All requisitions for ammunition have been filled until I have none left except what is in the hands of troops; neither have I funds placed at my disposal to create supplies in place of those sent off.
If the enemy intends an attack here he will make it soon, and I trust