War of the Rebellion: Serial 020 Page 0826 COAST OF S. C.,GA.,AND MID. AND EAST FLA. Chapter XXVI.

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to receive assistance from North Carolina or Virginia. I have now done all that I could to procure troops from the Confederate Government and from this State. If I meet with a disaster under the present circumstances the responsibility will not rest on my shoulders.

With regard to the heavy guns that you refer to for this harbor I must remark that last summer, when General Pemberton thought the floating boom would still be a success, he estimated that at least twenty 10-inch columbiads, besides the three captured ones, would be absolutely required, in addition to the armament of the forts and batteries; but now that the boom is an entire failure, is it reasonable to suppose that the same twenty guns you say we have received here are still sufficient for a successful defense of this important harbor? I leave the answer to your own judgment. I do not wish to accuse any one in particular, but why is it that after a two years' war we have but one Tredegar Works in the Confederacy? Is it not because we have constantly grasped at the shadow of peace in sixty or ninety days? This most lamentable mirage is the main cause of the present destitute condition of our quartermaster's and commissary's supplies; especially of the latter department, the genius of its chief consisting only in reducing the rations of our poor soldiers to make his supplies last longer, thereby increasing the running but not the fighting qualities of our troops.

But to return to our heavy guns. Wilmington has already captured two 10-inch columbiads on their way here, and has one 42-pounder banded and rifled guns, which I sent from Fort Moultrie. I have no objection to Whiting's receiving more heavy guns from Richmond; but those in power must decide which is the most important of the two places-Wilmington or Charleston; for, as we say in French, "qur trop embrasse mal etreint."

With regard to the question of permanent courts in my department, if the Secretary of War would only order to report to me a party of the stray colonels who are floating about loose from place to place without commands, especially about Richmond, I could turn them to some good account by putting them on courts-martial, thereby relieving my regimental officers.

I am surprised to hear that the examining boards for getting rid of ignorant and incompetent officers have no reported fully enough. The Secretary of War may rest assured he cannot go wronging approving the reports of inefficiency already sent in. Ample instructions will be given hereafter to examining boards to prevent such fatal delays. I regret to hear that the difficulty relative to Tombs should have been such a stumbling-block. It could easily have been removed by making Ripley and Mercer major-generals. Worse officers, I believe, have before now been promoted to that rank and still higher. Ransom is an excellent officer. He is one o those colonels I tried so long and so hard to have ordered to report to me in Western Tennessee last winter, but I was unsuccessful as a matter of course, and my cavalry remained (with the exception of several well-officered regiments) not much better than a mounted mob during several months. Captain Feilden has reported for duty, and I think will make an efficient officer. Already six monitors, besides the Neew Ironside, are in the waters of my department, concentrating about Port Royal, and transports with troops are still arriving from the North. I believe the drama will not much longer be delayed; the curtain will soon rise. Hopking for the best, I reaming yours, very truly,