HEADQUARTERS DISTRICT OF THE GULF,
Mobile, Ala., November 10, 1864.
General S. COOPER, Adjutant and Inspector General:
(Through department headquarters.)
GENERAL: Since my last letter to the Department no events of importance have occurred in this district. Admiral Farragut is in the lower bay with a fleet of eight or ten wooden vessels and two iron-clads. Habitually three or four vessels, including one iron- clad, lie off the batteries defending Mobile. In Pensacola there are reported to be 4,000 or 5,000 troops. There are generally about eighteen or twenty vessels lying in that harbor, including six or eight ships of war. Large stores for Sherman's army reported to have been recently brought to Pensacola. There is nothing known to me indicating preparation for an immediate attack upon this place. During two months past the health of the troops throughout this district has been very bad. The effective force has been very much reduced. In some garrisons six-sevenths of the officers and men have been off duty at one time, from chills and fever. The number of troops stationed here is insufficient for the security of the position; 4,000 or 5,000 veteran infantry should be sent here at the earliest practicable, monent, and should be held here ready to meet a sudden attack of the enemy, for, since the loss of Fort Powell, he has been able at any time to throw a force against this city without warning. At the present time, in consequence of the extraordinary sickness, and of demands of the Confederacy for troops on other more critical points, the line of land defenses of Mobile is occupied by a force (about 700 effective) totally inadequate to hold it against a serious attack. Should it be found practicable to send additional troops here I respectfully advise that troops from distant localities are to be preferred over those from this region of country. A few Virginia regiments would be peculiarly well suited for a tour of service here, and it would be peculiarly gratifying to me to command some troops from my own State. The stores here have been greatly diminished to supply the armies of Virginia and Tennessee. The condition of the defenses has been much improved during the past two months. Most of the cavalry of this district is held near Pensacola, whence the enemy, by means of his boats, has been able to make several raids and escape without serious loss.
Very respectfully, general, your obedient servant,
DABNEY H. MAURY,
HDQRS. DEPARTMENT OF ALA., MISS., AND EAST LA.,
Selma, Ala., November 14, 1864.
General Maury's views are substantially correct. Should the enemy operate seriously against Mobile the place must fall. Two brigades of veteran infantry are needed there, but not a man is disposable. General Maury has all the Alabama reserves, and it is hoped that the advanced season will mitigate the prevailing sickness. No indications of an attack at this time.