HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF MOBILE,
Mobile, March 21, 1862.
General BRAXTON BRAGG:
GENERAL: Colonel Jones has not yet informed me if all the rifled and shell guns at Pensacola have been dismounted and forwarded as you directed, but I presume it has all been done by this time. The bad condition of the roads, and the fact that I was obliged to send a few of the guns you want up the Escambia and land them a mile or two from the railroad, have caused some delay in the delivery of the guns and ammunition at Corinth. I have made every effort to forward with the least possible delay all ordnance and ordnance stores called for by you.
I am glad to learn by your telegram received yesterday that my suggestions and operations communicated to you in letters of the 6th and 15th instant met with your approbation. I have never been entirely without hope of holding Pensacola, even with the very limited means left me, until some favorable change in our affairs should enable us to gather a sufficient force there to hold it permanently. The governor of Alabama has sent there something over a thousand volunteers, and will send more. Colonel Jones wrote me on the 16th instant that all was going on well; that the new troops, though unarmed, were full of energy and zeal, and he adds, "With the army I now have, had I arms, I could defy the attempt of the enemy to dislodge me." The colonel, you see, enters upon his work with spirit. Since he wrote, the governor of Alabama has send him 300 arms, and I have strong hope of being able to send him a sufficient number to arm nearly all the new troops. I am more and more convinced that the enemy's force in the Gulf, and especially on Santa Rosa, has been greatly overestimated. The season for operations on a large scale on the Gulf is fast passing away, and if we can hold our ground a month or two longer all may yet be well on the Gulf coast.
In view of all the circumstances I respectfully suggest and urge upon you to permit all the smooth-bore guns and the troops now at Pensacola to remain there, hold the place as long as possible, and never give it up without a fight. If forced to abandon it, the guns, which would be of little value to the enemy, can be first disabled, and the other work of destruction carried out as directed by you. I feel so deeply the importance of this matter that I venture to urge it upon your consideration, notwithstanding the pressure of business immediately around you.
Most respectfully, &c.,
MOBILE, ALA., March 22, 1862.
Honorable J. P. BENJAMIN,
Secretary of War, Richmond, Va.:
Your telegram of yesterday received. The powder delivered to Flag-Officer Randolph. Would like much to have it replaced. Supply here very inadequate; only a small quantity remaining at Pensacola. Railroad communication with Pensacola will not be open sooner than eight or ten days. I believe enemy's force in the Gulf, especially on Santa Rosa, greatly overestimated. Governor Shorter has sent about 2,000 volunteers to Pensacola and can send more. If permitted to keep the troops and ordnance now there, we may be able to hold the place permanently. Colonel Jones say he can hold it if 700 or 800 muskets or rifles are sent him. I have some hope of getting them for him. Have ordered