the distribution of the arms of the Government in advance, as you suggest, or their transportation through the counter, cannot but increase the feverish apprehensions already prevailing, and thus tend to results in every way to be deplored.
Should the Governor of Virginia make the requisition which you say he contemplates, it will receive such a response as my sense of duty under all the circumstances shall prompt.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Secretary of War ad interim.
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, January 10, 1861.
Honorable JOSEPH HOLT,
Acting Secretary of War:
SIR: I have been informed by the quartermaster-general fo Alabama that the quota of arms due the State for the present year which were shipped last August has never been received. Will you please inform me what has become of them, and how and where they can be procured, or has the order of distribution been countermanded?
Very truly, yours,
ENGINEER DEPARTMENT, January 10, 1861.
Honorable JOSEPH HOLT,
Secretary of War ad interim:
SIR: The authorities of some fo the Southern States having caused certain forts to be seized and occupied by their troops, namely, as we know, Fort Moultre and Castle Pinckney, in Charleston Harbor; Fort Pulaski, at the mouth of the Savannah River, Ga., Fort Morgan, at the mouth of Mobile Basy, Ala.; and as a like action may not unreasonably be looked for as to other forts on these coasts, it is important that this department should have your determination as to our proceedings at forts now under construction or repair on the Southern coats. Excluding Forts Taylor and Jefferson, at Key West and the Tortugas, as belonging to another category, the forts alluded to above are Fort Clinch, at the north end of Amelia Island, Fla. (entrance to Cumberland Sound); Fort Gaines, west side of the entrance to Mobile Bay, Ala; fort on Ship Island, coast of Mississippi; Forts Jackson and Saint Philip, on the Mississippi River below New Orleans, and new fort at Galveston, Tex. There are several other forts on these coasts, but I mention only those on which we are making disbursements. The questions I beg to present are:
First. Whether we shall proceed as heretofore by adjusting the rate of expenditure in the most advantageous manner as regards season, 7c., to the amount of the appropriation in each case; or,
Second. Whether we shall at once reduce all these expenditures to an absolute minimum; that is to say, merely keeping possession by an overseer and two, three, or four laborers.
I do not offer the alternative of entire abandonment-if for no other reason, because the second assumption is nearly equivalent, while it takes care, as far as we can do so, of the public property. Besides the course that the policy of the General Government may dictate in refer-