HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE G
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE GULF,
Mobile, Ala., January 13, 1864.
Lieut. Gen. L. POLK,
Commanding, &c., Meridian, Miss.:
GENERAL: Your telegram of this date inquiring about my supplies of meat and ordnance came this morning and calls for a written explanation.
In anticipation of a siege, I ought to have six months' supply of meat for 15,000 men, and 800 rounds of projectiles for near 300 guns. Immediately after Vicksburg fell, I commenced accumulating such stores here, but other more pressing demands of the service elsewhere and the ordinary consumption of supplies by my own force has diverted and absorbed them.
I have now about 130,000 pounds salt meat, including the cargoes of two ships just arrived; there are 400 head beef cattle and sufficient breadstuffs for six months. There is plenty of meat now being cured in Alabama, and some beef cattle are awaiting my call. It is not judicious to bring pork here before it is cured, because it will be apt to spoil, unless I can procure pickled pork or well-cured bacon (which cannot now be easily found); the best we can do is to husband what I now have, and when attack is certain and imminent, to draw in the bacon now curing and take the chance of its spoiling. The negro laborers have eaten up a great deal of my supply of meat. The forts have six months' supply always on hand.
I cannot expect to have my estimates for heavy projectiles filled; perhaps by this time I might have received a proper number of them but for the siege of Charleston, which has diverted stores destined for me. Selma arsenal is charged with filling my orders, but they work slowly there. I hope you will cause any applications either the army or naval officers there may make for details of mechanics in the ordnance business to be granted.
The forts have about 250 rounds to the cannon; the bay batteries about 230 rounds to the cannon; the land defenses only 180 rounds to the cannon; the field batteries have sufficient supply, 600 rounds.
I am expecting more heavy guns here from Richmond, and am promised 200 rounds with each gun. If they cannot send plenty of ammunition they had as well not send any more big guns.
I have the honor to be, very respectfully, yours,
DABNEY H. MAURY,
SOURCE: United States War Department. THE WAR OF THE REBELLION: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies. Washington: Government Printing Office, 1880-1901.