War of the Rebellion: Serial 127 Page 0062 CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.

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expiring military fires are being rekindled, and companies are organized and have been organizing at the rate of from seven to eight per week, numbering from fifty to sixty men, ready to march to the field of battle to defend the soil of their birth or adoption from the ignominious taunts of the Black Republican horde, and anxious to place her among the nations of the earth as a free, independent, and sovereign people, discarding and disregarding the union of the States upon the present inequality of rights. While appreciating their love for independence and State pride, I regret that the existing military law does not empower the Governor to call them into service except within the limits of the State. The law is adapted to home service, or more particularly to parade, and inapplicable to actual service on the field. A few suggestions and recommendations on this point will be detailed in a subsequent paragraph of this report, to which special attention is requested. The military fires enkindle within the chivalric sons of Mississippi within the past year are unprecedented in her military annals. The number of companies organized up to the 16th of January, 1861, dating from January 1, 1860, amounts to sixty-five. Of this number fifty-five organized as rifles, but some three or more have been furnished to altered percussion musket, and others will be compelled to resort to the same arm. Of this number only one company organized as infantry and one as light infantry (Monroe Light Infantry and Enterprise Guards as infantry with rifled muskets). The number of cavalry companies formed amounts to eight; the number of artillery, three. As to the exact number of men composing these companies, it is impossible to state definitely, for the reason that the law upon which these organizations were effected has been waived for the past few months owing to the exigencies of the times; and again, in petitioning for organization the companies frequently carry out the law to the extent only to entitle them to organization, that is, getting only thirty-two signatures to the petition, when the company numbers probably fifty men or more. I therefore state the number of regular, uniformed volunteers will be based upon the arm distribution (and by approximation for companies not holding arms), which is the surest method of arriving at an estimate of the number of men. the impossibility of procuring the Mississippi rifle with saber bayonet has produced much dissatisfaction among the companies, and while it has caused the disbandment of some, prevented the organization of others, and has therefore been prejudicial in two distinct ways. Relative to the Mississippi rifle, it is but justice to state that every effort has been made to procure them within the power of this department. This arm being renowned for the brilliant victories achieved upon the battle-fields of Mexico in the hands of the First Regiment of Mississippi Riflemen, has derived the appellation of Mississippi rifle, and is the principal arm called for by the volunteer corps. In consequence of the numerous applications for this rifle the adjutant-general, in compliance with verbal instructions, proceeded North in May last for the purpose of making contracts for this rifle to supply the demand existing up to the time of departure. This was effected after much difficulty in finding a suitable armory for its manufacture. On the 6th of June a contract was closed with Eli Whitney, of Connecticut, for 1,500 of these rifles with bayonets, 1,000 of which were to be delivered by the 1st of December, 1860. At the time of the first delivery of arms, October 15, said Whitney raised a point relative to the inspection, fearing an inspection by an officer of the Army, and refused to have them examined, and therefore shipped but sixty of