summer quarters. The healthfulness of the place has been tested by time and experience and is established, and the Yankees who have already spent one summer at Pickens will feel every confidence in making Pensacola summer quarters. No other place on the Southern coast with a roadstead for ships can compare with it for such a purpose.
Put these two great facts together, and it is needless to elaborate an argument. They speak for themselves. I will not weary you nor myself in amplifying.
This great and important point can be securely held with 5,000 men, properly armed and trained; against any force the Yankee Government can detach for its capture; perhaps by less, but certainly by 5,000 men.
But we are now ill provided, and if provision be not made, and that soon, our comparatively naked condition will be known to the invaders, and they will make a stroke at us and take us, as I fear, almost without a show of resistance.
Le me state to you plainly what is needed to put the place in condition of defense:
1st. We want a good brigadier-general-some man who will inspire confidence and effect speedy organization. The gallant and worthy colonel who now commands the post himself feels this want.
2nd. We want small-arms for nearly half the troops; now have about 3,200, and we need permanently at the post 5,000 small-arms.
3rd. We want now one or two artillery companies and several companies of cavalry.
Alabama is doing all she can, and she will readily furnish the men if she can have the effective co-operation of the C. S. A.
I have this suggestion to make both for present and future operations in respect to Pensacola. Being a point of so great importance, a healthy location, and accessible for stores and provisions, let it be made a camp of instruction for the Confederate service. Send new regiments or companies, as they are formed, to Pensacola for drill; when sufficiently trained, retire them where they may be needed and bring in others, keeping the complement at 4,000 or 5,000 men. In this way the post can be maintained and the new levies of Alabama and adjoining States furnished with a most eligible camp of instruction.
I do not with to seem importunate, but feeling persuaded, as I do, that 50,000 men will not be able to repair the loss of a post which 5,000 could now hold safely, I hope I will be excused for any seeming importunity. From Pensacola, in the hands of the enemy, the whole great producing country of Middle Alabama can be so menaced as to put a serious check to ordinary agricultural labor at little or no cost to the invader. With Kentucky, Tennessee, and parts of North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia lost to us, what are we to do for food if Middle Alabama is seriously disturbed?
I remain, with very great respect,
JNO. GILL SHORTER.
P. S.-If the Secretary will furnish arms, I will furnish 5,000 more troops for the post without delay, with the troops already there included.
NEW ORLEANS, LA., April 10, 1862.
General GEORGE W. RANDOLPH:
Can you possibly order here 4,000 or 5,000 small-arms? I have sent all my troops to Corinth, but have several unarmed war regiments.