position, who directs me to say that the dispositions you have made under the orders of the War Department appear to be judicious, and he has no doubt the position at Pensacola may be held by Colonel Jones without danger, especially as we may expect no active operations from the enemy in the Gulf during the approaching summer season.
As his instructions for the destruction of property were based entirely on the orders of the War Department to "abandon Pensacola," he is gratified to find you exercised a proper discretion in that matter, though rumors have reached here that the order had been executed in part on private property.
The breaking of the railroad again is very unfortunate. Our defenses on the Mississippi are very imperfect, and require all the guns we can command. Will you please hurry forward those behind. There were in all at least twenty heavy shell guns, besides 8-inch howitzers and rifle guns. Half were ordered via Memphis and the other half to New Orleans. But seven have yet reached Memphis. Please urge them forward, sending everything complete with each one.
The general directs that you will change the destination of those to New Orleans, too, and send them to Jackson, Miss., to be used on the river near Vicksburg.
As soon as you can ascertain how many can be sent in each direction please advise us.
It is perfectly useless to send guns to New Orleans. If we lose the river, New Orleans must fall; no defenses can save it; the railroads would be cut immediately, and starvation would do its work.
In resuming his old command, in addition to the one here, the general did not intend to interfere with your command of the department, and requests you to resume it. His command is a large, and only includes the smaller one. The object was to give us control of means.
It is a subject of regret that the Department should have interfered to prevent your coming here. The most important command in this army was assigned you, and the one on which the general considers the safety of our cause depends.
I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
GEO. G. GARNER,
NEW ORLEANS, LA., March 29, 1862.
Honorable J. P. BENJAMIN:
I cannot get heavy guns from Mobile. The enemy is in large force at the mouth of the river. Please order commanding officer at Mobile to send immediately.
RICHMOND, VA., March 29, 1862.
General MANSFIELD LOVELL,
New Orleans, La.:
What guns do you mean; guns in batteries or guns on their way to you?
G. W. RANDOLPH,
Secretary of War.