CONFEDERATE STATES OF AMERICA, WAR DEPARTMENT,
Richmond, October 4, 1861.
His Excellency FRANCIS W. PICKENS,
Governor of South Carolina:
SIR: Your letter of the 28th of September has been received, and in compliance with your wishes no more troops will be called for from South Carolina without previous conference with Your Excellency. I sincerely regret that it is not at present in the power of his Department to furnish your troops with arms, especially as South Carolina has been so liberal in sending her arms to Virginia to be used in the common cause. No pains will be spared to procure arms, and as soon as it becomes possible it will afford me great pleasure to supply the troops of South Carolina with them.
J. P. BENJAMIN,
Acting Secretary of War.
HEADQUARTERS MILITARY DISTRICT,
Savannah, October 5, 1861.
Hon. J. P. BENJAMIN,
Acting Secretary of War, Richmond, Va.:
SIR: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 29th of September by the hands of my aide-de-camp, Captain Clinch. That the course I found it my duty to pursue in an emergency with regard to a portion of the arms landed in Savannah from the steamer Bermuda does not meet with the approval of the Department is to me a source of sincere regret. I would content myself, however, with the reflection that I had discharged my whole duty according to my best judgment, and bow in silence to the decision of the proper authority, did not the terms in which you are pleased to characterize my conduct, and the illustrations to which you rest to make manifest its impropriety, force me either to call your attention to some of them or to consent at once to an entire surrender of my own self-respect. When such an alternative is presented I cannot hesitate as to my duty.
Indulge me while I state the facts briefly: For several days after the arrival of the Bermuda at Savannah it was impossible to ascertain here whether the arms and munitions by the steamer were public or private property. Sorely pressed for the want of arms, and authorized as I was by the War Department to organize the necessary force for the defense of this coast, I communicated promptly with the consignees in Charleston, and wrote and telegraphed the Adjutant-General on the subject. I am not aware that I transcended my authority in this. There was no reply to either my letter or telegraph to the Adjutant-General, through these applications were certainly most respectful in terms and directly connected with my official duties. Repeated inquires from day to day satisfied me that neither the ordnance officer nor quartermaster of this command (to whose care would naturally have been committed such portions of the cargo as appertained to each of these departments), nor any other Confederate officer, had any control or supervision over these arms, so invaluable to the Confederate Government. Without reference even to my extreme desire to procure a portion of these arms for my command, as military commander of this district I did not feel that I