an attack upon Mobile. I cannot learn that any other preparation is going on besides the assembling of the troops. No activity is reported in the navy. Grant was in Vicksburg on the 14th, for on that day he wrote me an autograph letter about Johnny Maurey. These people say he was believed to be at Pensacola incognito. They report no troops on Ship Island excepting the small force which may be in the fort.
This morning I learn that a captain of a schooner which ran into Pascagoula on the 21st reports four regiments on Ship Island, and they state that they expect orders daily to march against Mobile. The strongest evidence that there is preparation to attack Mobile was in the memorandum I sent you, which was found on the person of a spy, Asa Weed, killed near Covington early in this month. I think it advisable to increase my force about Pascagoula, but have not the troops to spare; therefore, if you will send down at once one of the brigades now awaiting my call, I think it will be well to do so; they will probably be wanted here before very long, and the bay shoer will be a healthful station for them and a cheerful variety.
It seems to me important that no more Alabama troops be sent here if others can be found equally available. The weak-kneed influence is now working in the two regiments which now make my garrison, and in the past two or three nights more than twenty desertions have occurred, due, I believe, to the despondency of their friends at home. I fear that the dark aspect of affairs at Charleston, which our newspapers so industriously circulate, will not make my garrison more confident. There were one or two battalions or regiments of heavy artillery at Vicksburg and Snyder's Bluff. Please let me have them here if exchanged in time; they were Louisianians, and doubtless have mostly gone home, but there are some splendid artillerists among them, and the year of alertness and frequent practice at Vicksburg made them very dexterous in sinking ships.
General, I believe we can and ought to hold Mobile. You know the enemy will land either at Pascagoula, 40 miles, or Portersville, 27 miles. A succoring force might come along the Mobile and Ohio Railroad, and operate against their line of communication from Citronelle, 30 miles above here. No other route seems practicable because of the want of supplies. The region west of the Mobile and Ohio road is a sandy, pine wilderness, almost a desert. The Mobile and Ohio road would enable us to have supplies of forage and subsistence at Citronelle or other suitable points.
Should an attempt be made to move from Pensacola toward Pollard, and from there to the Alabama River, the enemy will have a still longer line to guard-80 miles. But he can from Pensacola occupy points along the east shore of the bay, and I do not know how I can prevent him from doing so.
Leadbetter is going to thicken the parapets of the redoubts. The Yankees attach very great importance to the reserves. We are entirely independent of it; it is within our lines, however.
Should it be necessary to send an officer here senior to me in rank, all I ask is, be sure he is a gentleman. My preferences incline to Breckinridge, and I believe his Kentucky troops will endure a siege better than any Western troops except the Missourians or Texans.
I prefer decidently to work out my own salvation-to win my own success at the hazard of my fall-but should the interests of the country require a man of higher rank to come here, do not hesitate to send him. If he is a gentleman, I will serve under him as zealously as if I was working for my own glory and renown. I do not underrate an honest