In connection with the subject of public defense I deem it my duty to call the attention of your honorable bodies to the exposed condition of our Gulf coast. And while I feel every confidence that the Government of the Confederate States will use every exertion for the defense of our coast, yet it is certain that without the heavy guns necessary for that object but comparatively little can be done. The recent experiment made to forward cannon from the State of Louisiana demonstrates that we will have to rely exclusively on such heavy ordnance as may be now in the State, or such as can be made within the limits of the State. We have amongst us many citizens who understand the manufacture of cannon and of small-arms, and we have also quite a number of foundries in the State. We have in Cass and Bowie Counties, and it is believed in other localities, iron of a quality well adapted to the purpose, and steps should be taken for the encouragement of the manufacture of these weapons, indispensable to our defense. Legislation providing for the manufacture of these arms is necessary. Contracts might be made for that purpose, or if deemed best a State foundry might be established at some suitable point. The subject is one demanding the serious consideration of the Legislature while we yet have time to act, and I submit it to you, hoping that it will receive that the attention which its importance demands.
In consequence of the blockade of our ports, the penitentiary has become very essential in supplying fabrics so much needed for the comfort of our troops. Upon this subject I beg leave to call your attention to the suggestions of my immediate predecessor. I also recommend that the suggestions of the comptroller, relative to the management of the finances of that institution, be adopted, and that the receiving and disbursing officers be required to report to and settle their accounts with the comptroller semi-annually. I would advise that in addition to the business at present carried on in the penitentiary, the directors be authorized, so soon as practicable, to establish a tannery, shoe factory, and hat manufactory, all of which would prove beneficial to the public service. I beg leave to call your attention to the very able report of the late adjutant-general, by which it will be seen that under the orders of my immediate predecessor the office went into active operation on the 1st day of May, 1861. War actually existing, it was deemed necessary that an organization of the militia should be effected. The duties of quartermaster-general, commissary-general, and ordnance officer were discharged by the adjutant-general. The necessity which called this office into active operation still exists. Under the militia law creating the office of adjutant-general the salary of that officer is merely nominal, unless he be called into active service. Since the 1st of May last the adjutant-general, through the construction placed on the law, has been receiving pay as a colonel of infantry, amounting to $2,120 per annum. Not being satisfied as to the correctness of that construction, I will be pleased (if you deem it proper to continue the adjutant-general in active service during the war) that you fix the amount of pay he is to receive. And in order to that [sic] the services of an officer competent to discharge the duties of the post, varied and important as they are, I would recommend that the salary be fixed at the sum of $2,000 per annum.
It will be seen by the report of the adjutant-general that there is in the hands of private parties in different parts of the State a large number of firearms, the property of the State. I deem it essential at