War of the Rebellion: Serial 127 Page 0702 CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.

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business, and of these some are not regular merchants. These attempts to speculate upon the Government and the people are not confined to Alabama. Every State of the Confederacy is infested with this class of men.

PRESENT STATE OF COAST DEFENSES.

It is manifested that the Lincoln Government has been making extensive preparations for a naval expedition to the Southern Atlantic and Gulf coasts for the purpose of invading, if possible, the cotton States from that direction. Alabama has an extensive coast to be defended, and nothing should be left undone that may be necessary to security and safety. What is to be done should be done promptly. When Forts Morgan and Gaines were taken possession of by the troops of Alabama the latter was in an unfinished condition; indeed, in its state at that time it was of no value as a point of defense. Fort Morgan had been much neglected and required a large expenditure of money and labor to render it tenable and serviceable. What had not been done by the State to the transfer of this fort to the Confederacy has since been completed by the latter Government. Fort Gaines, as I am informed, will soon be completed, and is now ready for efficient defense. The forts, with the batteries at Grant's Pass, it is supposed, will secure the city of Mobile against the approach of the enemy by way of the bay or by Spanish River. The only real danger to be apprehended is the landing of the enemy through the bays or inlets at other points on the coast. The prevent this the Confederate Government is making provision by the erection of batteries and by guarding these points with troop advanced $30,000 t the committee of safety in Mobile to aid in preparing defenses for the city, and has also purchased from the city authorities munitions of war at the cost of $26,524, which are deposited in the city armory to meet emergencies. There is one regiment of troops at Fort Morgan, two battalions, at Fort Gaines, and one company at Grant's Pass. Two other regiments have been ordered to the coast, a third has been organized in the city of Mobile, and a fourth will be ordered there as soon as organized. Several additional regiments are being raised and are nearly full, whose destination is not fixed by the Secretary of War, so far as I am advised; but it is presumed they will be ordered to our coast if deemed necessary by Brigadier-General Withers, the officer in command at that point. The War Department was at an early day advised that the State was prepared and willing to co-operate with and aid the Confederacy in making the necessary preparation for the protection and defense of our coast. No troops of the enemy have been landed on the soil of Alabama, nor am I advised of any attempt to do so. There is another subject in connection with the Gulf coast to which it is proper to call your attention. The passage between New Orleans and Mobile had been interrupted by the enemy and steamers had ceased to run between those places. The Governors of Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama deemed it a matter of the highest importance, not only to these States, but to the Confederacy, that this public highway should be opened and kept open. They therefore mutually determined and agreed to co-operate in doing whatever might be necessary for this purpose, with the understanding that these States should pay their proportional share of the damages, provided the Confederacy would not relieve them by assuming the payment. This passage was opened and the public relieved from the embarrassment and damage created by its interruption.