Today in History:

49 Series IV Volume I- Serial 127 - Correspondence, Orders, Reports and Returns of the Confederate Authorities, December 20, 1860 – June 30, 1862


mercy of the ships of war of the United States. To regain possession of these posts would have cost the State thousands of treasure and the best blood of her sons. There were in the arsenal of the United States at Mount Vernon, on the Alabama River, a large supply of powder and small-arms, which might be used against the State. Acting under these considerations, I transmitted orders by telegraph, on the night of ---- January, to


, at Mobile, to take possession of Forts Morgan and Gaines, at the mouth of Mobile Harbor, and of the arsenal at Mount Vernon, with all their arms, ammunition, and equipments, and hold them in the name of the State of Alabama. It gives me pleasure and pride to make known the gallantry and promptitude with which this order was responded to by the officers and men selected for that purpose. The dispatch was sent from this place at 9 a. m., and the forts, forty miles from Mobile, were taken possession of on the next night, and the arsenal, some fifty miles from Mobile, was seized about daylight next morning, and they are now held in the name of this State by her volunteer troops. In the forts were some hundred cannon-32 and 24 pounder guns-and in the arsenal about 22,000 stand of small-arms and 150,000 pounds of powder. Of the small-arms about 2,000 were Mississippi rifles and the remainder muskets. I directed the officers in command at these posts to make out an accurate inventory of the arms and materials thus obtained. As soon as I was informed that these posts were in possession of the troops of the State I communicated the facts to the President of the United States, with a summary of the reasons which induced my action,* to which he has not replied. If more specific information of the arms and conditions of the forts is desired I will furnish it with pleasure.

Early in December last I was urged to convoke the Legislature for the purpose, among others, of authorizing the banks of the State to suspend specie payments in order to relieve the community in their embarrassed condition. I declined at that time to do so far the reasons stated by me in an address to the people of the State, a copy of which address is hereto attached,+ and to which I beg to call your attention. In view of the condition of the State, and the absolute necessity of her having money on her secession-and which event I confidently anticipated-I made arrangements with the two banks in Mobile, the Commercial Bank at Selma, the Central Bank at Montgomery, and the Eastern Bank at Eufaula that they should, if required by the Legislature, furnish to the State a loan of $1,000,000 in specie or its equivalent.

I requested and urged upon them to suspend payments of specie for the purpose of furnishing the sum designated to the State, and to relieve the community as far as possible by such assistance as they would then be able to give. This amount of $1,000,000 is to be advanced by the several banks in proportion to their respective capitals. The two banks at Mobile agreed to advance a proportional part of the above sum, but declined to suspend. The Commercial Bank, the Central Bank, and the Eastern Bank agreed to advance their respective proportions and suspend specie payments, upon my promise to institute no proceedings against them, and to urge upon the General Assembly the propriety of its sustaining such suspensions. The circumstances under which these latter banks


*See Series I, VOL. I, p. 327.


+See December 17, 1860, p. 31.