The harbor seems to me very defensible, on account of the powerful and well-placed batteries,the artificial obstructions to navigation, and the shallowness of the channels approaching the city. On the land side, a very formidable line of square redoubts encircles the city. They will be connected by other works, so as to form a continuous and strong line, which can be manned by about 10,000 men. This line has been drawn in (from considerations of economy of labor and of troops) to the very edge of the city proper, and, therefore, during an attack from the land side, as the ground is everywhere level, the whole city will be exposed to fire. The total absence of non-combatants, of helpless people, women and children, becomes on this account one of the most important elements of a successful defense, as it is one of the most difficult to deal with, for at this time Mobile has become a place of refuge to homeless people from other parts of the Confederacy, while the active trade which has been going on has attracted an unusually numerous population, so that there are more than 15,000 people in the city who should be removed before the attack is made on it. There are nineteen redoubts in the line of defense; seventeen are defensible now,and the other two can be made so in a few days. The stores of all kinds now here will not suffice to enable a proper garrison (20,000 men) to stand a siege. I have forwarded requisitions for ordnance, made out on a siege basis, and have made the best practicable preparation to secure or bring in supplies of subsistence with the same view. The garrison should be increased at the proper time to 20,000 men. Forts Morgan and Gaines are victualed for sic months.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
DABNEY H. MAURY,
ADJUTANT AND INSPECTOR GENERAL'S OFFICE, July 23, 1863.
Respectfully submitted to the Secretary of War.
H. L. CLAY,
JULY 25, 1863.
Respectfully submitted, for information,to the President.
J. A. SEDDON,
Secretary of War.
The removal of non-combatants may well be postponed until an attack is proximate. The preparation by completion of works and collection of supplies and munitions should be pressed vigorously. the increase of the garrison should be studied now; the movement may be made when the intent of the enemy is better developed.*
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE GULF, Mobile, Ala., July 16, 1863.
General S. COOPER,
Adjt. and Inspe. General, C. S. Army, Richmond, Va.:
GENERAL: Please ask the Secretary of War to take into consideration the propriety of running cotton out on Government account from
*See Seddon to Maury, August 1,p.129.