MOBILE, December 1, 1862.
His Excellency J. G. SHORTER:
SIR: The undersigned, in discharge of a duty confided to them by the Committee of Safety, beg to call your attention to what appears to be the great want for our defense. You are aware the committee, under your sanction and with the approval of the citizens, are doing all in their power to aid the military powers. The officers to whom that authority is intrusted have kindly informed as of the condition of the defenses; and some of them in company with these officers have personally inspected the material defenses that have already been erected.
It is not needful to particularize to you the state of these things. We give all honor to our commanders, but it is plain that in time that is now past errors in judgment have been committed in some things. This, however, can never be avoided by man, but all that experience and observation have suggested and that is within the means of the power that commands is now in the course of execution.
All the suggestions of the military and naval authorities, and of practical seance on the part of the civilian too, point to the great necessity of the immediate and considerable increase of artillery at this point. You know our location; you know of the capacities and of the wants of the bay and its shores and those of the coast, and you know of the powerful means of attack behind movable but sheltered bulwarks that our enemy has at command. You know these things too well to have them more particularly urged upon you. You know too what lies behind this gate-way to the State, and it is not necessary to press upon you the importance of this point. But has the Government at Richmond fully weighed these things, and has it directed here all the means of defense that its position as to locality and importance demands? Has its due relation to other points, that it is true are threatened, and the whole country been duly considered? We fear not.
We know that above officers are here. We know that they have called for artillery and materials of war, and that the means of defense have become great. We would have them greater yet. We would have the soil of this part of the county unstained by the impress of a hostile foot. But we fear that other points have too much monopolized the attention of the Government, and that our wants have been postponed.
The great want of this point of defense is for more guns and of as large a caliber as possible. Points of importance, of great importance, but of minor interest when compared with those of commanding magnitude, are yet unarmed, while some of decisive importance are still but feebly armed or are equipped in a manner far below that completeness and efficiency that should be imparted to them. We earnestly beg that you will see that the responsibility of this matter is placed where it rightly belongs. We sincerely hope that the demands of our officers upon the General Government may be fully met and our needs supplied. We apply to you as the head of our Commonwealth to come to our aid with your efficient influence.
Has another matter been sufficiently attended to? Have proper corps of reserve been organized and posted so as to support the local force in of need? Suppose the enemy land a large force to march on us and so turn our water defenses, has the force been provided that from some central point can march and meet the advancing column?
These are questions of military policy under military direction that may be big with importance to this point of the South Mississippi [sic],