Civil War and Reconstruction Governors of Alabama

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Shorter_correspondence_RSG00689_Q145250_Q145648

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Executive Department Montgomery, Ala. Jan'y 13th 1862 Hon. J. P. Benjamin [check] Secretary of War: Sir, I have recently, visited the Forts and Encampments of our Troops - at, and near Mobile, and deem- it my duty, to the People of Alabama, to report to your Department - the great need of munitions - for the defense of our Coast _ both guns - for the fortifications - and small-arms for the land- Forces. I hope to be able to specify - at an early day - the description and number of guns needed for the Forts. The Land-forcesthere - are now wanting several thousand muskets or Rifles

I beg to hand you - enclosed - a letter from the Honl P. Hamilton - chairman of the Executive Committee of Safety - for the City of Mobile - in reference to certain arms in Havanna, and to call your attention to the suggestions contained in it. and, respectfully, to ask your compliance with the same.

In our opinion, I am sorry to say that, in view of the increasing armaments & numbers of the Enemy in the Gulf - and his threatening attitude towards our Coast, we are, perhaps, as unprepared - by want of guns and arms - for his reception as any point in the Confederacy.

I hope I may be pardoned for reminding the Department, of the many thousand arms which Alabama promptly contributed - and sent into distant States, in the hands of her own Volunteers, for the common defense - and for further advising that, under the recent requisition of General A. S. Johnston, we have forwarded over two Regiments of armed troops to Tennessee & Kentucky. We make no boast of these achievements - on the contrary we - profoundly regret that we had it not in our power to do far more than has been accomplished. While, however the Enemy is now seriously threatening our own soil, which has, thus far, spared the pollution of his foot-print, & in view of our own destitution - by reason of a surrender of our arms for the defense of other - prior-exposed-localities I am sure you will - most favorably - consider the sincere and urgent appeal I here make.

I have the means with which to procure additional arms, and am making contracts for their manufacture within the State; but the emergency is now so pressing, that we are unwilling to await the delays of delivery - months hence, and have no other alternative - but to appeal to your Department to afford us prompt & timely relief -

Awaiting- I trust your early & favorable response - I am, with high regard, Your ob.t Ser't. (Signed) Jno Gill Shorter =

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19 21

Executive Department Montgomery, Ala. Jan 13th 1862 Hon. H. P. Watson [check] Dear Sir, The office of Adjutant and Inspector General, of the Alabama Militia, has been vacated by the resignation of Hon. R. O. Pickett. In view of the duty devolved upon me to, thoroughly, organize the Militia of the State, for the Defense of the State and Country - and the valuable aid which your experience will enable you to render the state in its Military Department, I have ventured to tender you the enclosed Commission to the office of Adjutant and Inspector -General of the Alabama militia; and I earnestly request that it may be agreeable to you- to accept the same. With high regards, I am Your Obt Sert (Signed) Jno Gill Shorter. = Executive Department Montgomery, Ala. Jan 13th /62 Mr. A. Burness, [check] Lessee of Penitentiary, Wetumpka, Ala. Sir Necessary absence from the Capitol has prevented an earlier reply to your letter of the 6th inst,

As- under Sect - 3705 of the Code of Alabama - the Executive, in his discretion, may order a deduction of two months from each year of imprisonment, when the Board of Inspectors have reported the conduct of the Convict as unexceptionable, during the time of his imprisonment; and as, in my judgement, such an exercise of Executive clemency will have a wholesome influence over the conduct of the prisoners, I hereby authorize you - without special instructions, to allow the deduction - in all cases - except those prohibited by the latter clause of Sec. 3705 of the Code. Very Respy Yr- Obt Sert (Signed) Jno Gill Shorter.

= Start Here Executive Department Montgomery, Ala. Jan 13th 1862. To/ Drs James C. Harris - M. G. Moore - Thos W. Mason, [check] Wetumpka, Ala. Gentlemen; Under the Act of the General Assembly - of 9th Decr 1861 Dr Thos W. Mason, Physician to the Penitentiary, has reported, to this Department, the enclosed list of persons in the StatePrison suffering from Insanity in its various forms.

The Law in this event - makes it my duty to appoint three Physicians - of skill & experience - of whom the Physician of the Penitentiary shall be one - to examine the persons reported to be insane, and to report the result of such examination to this office.

In pursuance of the Law - I have appointed you - and each on of you - to constitute a Board of Examiners; and have to request that you will visit the Prisoners mentioned, and examine - and report their Several Conditions as to insanity - to this Department. Very Respy- Yr obt Ser't. (Signed) Jno Gill Shorter. =

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22 20 Executive Department Montgomery, Ala. Jan 13th 1862 Mr. Thos E. McNeil Dalton, Geo [check] Sir, An unexpected summons to Mobile and our Gulf-Coast has prevented an earlier reply to your two communications - proposing the establishment of an armory in the State of Alabama for the manufacture of small-arms.

After due reflection, I have concluded to submit to you, the following qualifications to the propositions made by you. 1. The arms shall be manufactured at an armory in this State, which shall be permanently located in Alabama, and which shall not be removed beyond the State nor abandoned - on pain of forfeiture to the State - 2. No other arms shall be made at the Armory until the State shall have received full - payment - in arms - as stipulated in the Contract; and the State shall have the right - in perpetuity - to purchase - or order the manufacture of - arms, in preference to all other Contractors, & at fair market prices, at the Armory. 3. The advances shall be made in amounts, to be mutually fixed - and in State-Bonds - having years to run - at 8 pr. ct. interest per annum with interest-coupons attached - payable semi-annually, and shall be received at par value, and paid-for- in the character and description of arm - and at the price mentioned by you - you, of course, crediting the Statein settlements - with the amount of Bond advanced at par value - with 8 pr. ct. interest pr. annum, from the date of the advances. 4. The advances and interest to be secured by personal security - within the State of Alabama (to be approved by the Governor of the State) and by mortgage - or deed of Trust on the lands & buildings to be occupied - and on the machinery - tools - and materials, to be supplied for the establishment. 5. The delivery of the arms to be made at the State - armory - at the Capitol.

If you accept these qualifications to your propositions, I am disposed to contract with you, to the amount of $250,000, as provided in the appropriation made by our Genl Assembly. You will please notify me - at your earliest convenience, or come down, & confer further, on the subject. Your ob't Serv't (Signed) Jno Gill Shorter. = Mobile, Jany 10th 1862. Maj. Gen. Thos W. McCoy, [check] Sir, I hand you - herewith - Military Order - No. 1. to which I call your immediate - and earnest attention. The public defense against the invasion now threatening our soil, is a matter of primary importance Orders - special - have been directed, by me - To Brigr Genl Butler, for the organization of his Brigade, more stringent than those herewith communicated, to be extended - by you to the 22d Brigade. The reasons for this departure are sufficient to justify the same.

Regretting that it has not been in my power to call upon you - in return for your polite attentions, I am Respectfully Yours, (Signed) Jno Gill Shorter =

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21 23 Executive Department Montgomery, Ala. Jan 16th 1862. Majr Genl Braxton Bragg, [check] Pensacola. Sir, A Colonel - commanding one of our Alabama Regiments- in Virginia, has notified this Department that the Secretary of War has directed him to turn-over-to the Ordnance-officer of the Confederate States - the arms and accoutrements of his discharged men. The Regiment was enlisted for 12 months. We have Six Regiments, in the Service - all armed by the State - who will be discharged, in a few months - unless they re-enlist. Circulars have been issued by the Secretary of War, giving notice the Government will not pay for privatearms, in the hands of twelve-months' troops. To prevent any misconstruction - and to adjust the question - as to whether the State shall have her arms return with her Troops, or be held, by the Confederate Authority, for the use of other troops from Alabama, who may re-organize the Regiments, as the property of the Confederacy, and credited to the State - in her account of Expenditures; I propose to correspond with the Secretary of War at an early day.

As the arms of the First Alabama Regiment are in your Command, and will - likely - remain on the Coast, where they can be effectively used for the Defense of Alabama - as well as the Common Cause. I am persuaded that - as to them - any adjustment which may be made would be satisfactory; but, in advance of any adjustment of the questions involved, I deem it my duty to notify you that the State of Alabama claims property in the arms held by "The First Alabama, and all other Twelve-months' Regiments - from this State under your command; as also - property in all accoutrements, & Camp-Equipments, furnished by the State; and this notification is forwarded - merely as precautionary - & to avoid anyimagined plea of estoppel which might be suggested in case of a failure - on part of the State - to properly adjust her claim with the Secretary of War.

Hoping you will do me the honor to acknowledge - the receipt of this communication, I am With high regard, Your obt' Sert (Signed) John Gill Shorter - P. S. I have retained a copy. = Executive Department. Montgomery, Ala. Jany 14th 1862. Hon. J. P. Benjamin, Secy of War. [check] Sir, The State of Alabama has, in service, a number of Twelve-months' Volunteers, who have been wholly, armed with the public arms of the State, and whose accoutrements, and Camp-Equipages were furnished in a great degree, by the Stae, and by the men themselves. Some of these Regiments are about closing-up their term of enlistment, and the occasion suggests the propriety of adjusting the rights & claims of the State and her Citizens, before the arms - are surrendered by her Troops. As the arms - & all other appliances - furnished by this State - were heartily contributed by the Common Defense, Alabama asks no other consideration - or concession - than such as may be accorded by her Sister Confederate States

A Colonel, in Command ^of one^ of our Regiments

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24 22 in Virginia, has advised this Department, that he has received an order, from you, to turn-over-to an ordnance-offiof the Confederate-States, the arms and accoutrements of all non-commissioned- officers & privates, under his command, who may be discharged from service. He is in command of a Regiment, enlisted for twelve months. Circulars, from your Department, have given notice that arms - in the hands of Twelve-months' Troops - will not be paid - for by the Confederate Government.

This State has recently - in addition to the private arms furnished by the Troops, sent nearly a thousand, belonging to the State, into Tennessee and Kentucky, in response to a requisition - made upon the State, by General A. S. Johnston.

If the Government proposed to pay for any and not all the State should have timely notice of the proposition. There can be but little doubt - that the Troops who have furnished their own arms, have done so under the belief, that the Government would pay for them - provided they ^are^ willing to sell. All disquietude, however, upon this point, could be easily removed by the State - authorities, provided they are duly advised of the will and purpose of the Confederate government.

If any understanding or rule has been adopted for general application to all the States, and which has, already been acquiesced-in, in such a manner as would commend its propriety to Alabama, I would not disturb, or question its correctness; but - in absence of all information on the subject- I beg - respectfully, to advise you, that this state does not admit the right of the Secretary of War to control the arms in the hands of the Alabama Troops - when their period of enlistment has expired - without consultation with the Executive of the State as to the claim or purpose under - & for which such control is asserted.

Repeating that - Alabama will, cheerfully, acquiesce in any fair & uniform rule which may be adopted - even if it occasion the State severe inconvenience, at this particular juncture, when her own soil & people are daily menaced by the Enemy; and expressing the Hope that I may, at an early day, be favored with a reply to this communication Very Respy Your obedient Ser't (Signed) Jno Gill Shorter. = Executive Department. Mobile, Jany 9th 1862 To Genl D. C. Greene. } [check] Quarter-Master Genl } of the State } Sir, You will not interfere with the arms now in possession of the Mobile Grays, but leave the same with them. Furthermore, if you have any of the arms of the State in your possession - or under your control, or if any should - here after, come into your possession or control, you are authorized and requested to place them at the disposal of any organized-Volunteer Militia - Company in the County of Mobile, upon the proper application being made - and Bond given.

If there are any other of the State arms in the possession

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23 25 of any Volunteer Company in Mobile - organized under the Military Code of 1852, you will allow them so to remain unless otherwise ordered Yours, Respectfully, (Signed) Jno Gill Shorter = Mobile, Jany 9th 1862. To Brigadier Genl J. J. Butler} Commanding 9th Brigade, A. M. } [check] Genl Withers assures me that he will furnish the ammunition and ball, for making Cartridges, for any of your Volunteer Companies that stand in need of them. I beg to say also, that I shall not authorize the taking of any arms out the hands of any organized Company in your Command. The Mobile Greys can retain their arms.

I am in hopes you will succeed in getting a goodly number of double-barrelled Shot-guns, and rifles out of the hands of private citizens in Mobile County, &, if necessary, I will see that funds are furnished to purchase pikes & BowieKnives for such of your Command as have them not. I will assure you - also - that for any reasonable bills for printing your orders - as Brig. Genl commanding - I will furnish the means of payment. Yours - Resp'y (Signed) Jno Gill Shorter. P. S. Genl Green is authorised to furnish such ammunition as may be in his possession. (Signed) Jno Gill Shorter = Executive Department. Montgomery, Ala. Jany 15th 1862 Col. T. Lomax, Norfolk, Va [check] Sir, I have the pleasure to acknowledge receipt of your favor of 5th Inst. for which I am obliged.

I, herein, enclose you copy of a letter addressed by me to the Secretary or War. When we have agreed upon the questions involved- I will communicate further with you on the subject. Your views - in the premises are appreciated & approved.

I am gratified at the Report made, by you of the condition of your magnificent regiment; and fondly hope it may re-organize, in advance for the War, as the First Alabama Regiment is now doing at Pensacola. We have to-day, been advised of an agent goingdown - with the handsome sum of $50,000, to advance to the men now re-enlisting. God bless these gallant men! Will not the glorious Third Regiment follow such a proud example? Very truly, Yours, (Signed) Jno Gill Shorter. =

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26 24 Executive Department. Montgomery, Ala. Jany 16th 1862. Dr. C. J. Clark, [check] Richmond, Va. [check] Dear Sir, Necessary absence from the Capitol - & pressing duties - connected with the public defense - have prevented an earlier consideration of - and reply to-your letter of 26th ulto.

At this distance - and - personally - unacquainted with those various facts and considerations which should control the location of our Hospital accommodations, I can but rely upon your own best judgement, and that of Judge Hopkins, & his excellent Lady: and I am pleased to feel that we may rely - with entire confidence - upon the discretion - wisdom which you may - together - exercise in the management of the important interest committed to your supervision.

The manifest design of the Genl assembly was - first - to secure an efficient agent to locate & provide Hospital accommodations for our Alabama Troops, in Virginia, on as broad & beneficial a basis as should be found compatible with the appropriation of $30,000. and, secondly, that the accommodations - thus provided should be under the direction of a skillful physician & Surgeon - from our own State. And I will add - further - that, as the great body of our Troops were near-to- or in the vicinity of Manassas-junction, the General Assembly seems to have entertained the opinion that the Hospital would probably, have to be located, as near as possible, to that locality. I am, however, persuaded that the principal Hospital building and Depot for Medical supplies, should be in Richmond, and that another - or branch - Hospital - so to speak - should be established on the Rail-Road - nearer to Manassas-junction. The sickor disabled troops would be - in the first instance, taken to the nearest Hospital; and when that is full, or when - from other sanatory causes - patients should be transferred, they can come to Richmond. Richmond would, also, be most convenient for our Troops on the Peninsula - and at Norfolk. The principal Depot for supplies should be there, because, from that point, they could be more conveniently distributed to the various localities, when needed. I understand these to be your views, and those of Judge Hopkins and lady - and fully concur in their correctness.

It will be most agreeable to me to have your Department so organized, that while you may be assigned to Richmond, in charge of "the Alabama Hospital." in that city - you may be authorised - likewise - to exercise a superintending control over any and all branch-Hospitals, and have general powers in so directing the whole enterprise, as to secure the greatest efficiency. Your experience - however, - in the army must have impressed you with the delicacy involved in every suggestion, by State-authority, looking to any modification - or change - in the Army-regulations by the Confederate Government. There is a jealous watchfulness and an instinctive repugnance to altering things from settled plans of operation. I am not fully apprised as to all the grades & duties of the Medical department, but I had hoped the Surgeon-general- in view of the liberal and humane provision by Alabama, would have had the generosity - if in his power to make such orders - or concessions - if need be - as should enable the State - gratefully - to realize, to the fullest extent, all her worthy expectations. As it has been several weeks since you wrote me, and your status may have been improved, & in as much as you purpose - at an early day, to visit Alabama, where I hope to have the pleasure of a personal interview

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25 27 with you. I prefer to adjourn any further communication to the Secretary of War untill after you visit home. Upon the propriety of additional compensation, on account of your location in Richmond - where your expenses are largely increased - I have to say - that no appropriation was made for salary to the Surgeon, by the act, and that such compensation will have to be charged out of the appropriation of $30,000, and may - properly, be so charged, if necessary to effect the end proposed by it.

The General-Assembly made an additional appropriation of $1500 To provide a building at Manassas, for the Depot of all supplies for our Troops; and measures have been take to accomplish the object. Recent advices from there report the lumber bought, and I hope - soon - to hear that the building is completed. It is expected that a guard will be detailed - from our Regiments to protect & keep it.

In the selection of a proper person, as an agent to attend to the receipt and distribution of medical stores- which may be forwarded from Alabama, I, of expect you in cooperation with Judge Hopkins, to exercise your discretion; Indeed, all the details must necessarily, be under your joint and separate administration, which I sincerely trust - and believe - will be mutually agreeable, and beneficial to the State

Please show this letter to him - I have written him - likewise - by this mail. Very respectfully, Your obedient servent. (Signed) Jno Gill Shorter = Executive Department Montgomery, Ala. Jany 17th 1862. Mr Thos. T. Gosnell, [check] Dear Sir, In reply to your letter of the 2d inst. proposing to sell 32 new rifles, I have to say that I will buy the Rifles - if delivered here, and are of an inch, or more. in diameter - at valuation; cash; the valuation to be made by the Ordnance-office of the Confederate Government. Very respectfully, (Signed) Jno Gill Shorter. = Executive Department Montgomery, Ala Jan. 18th 1862 Mr Tho's. P. Miller, Mobile [check] Dear Sir, I embrace the earliest opportunity to reply to your letter of the 13th Inst. communicating a Resolution- adopted by the Committee of Safety - in reference to providing fire ships and boats to meet the vessels of the Enemy in Mobile Bay.

There is no appropriation - made by the Genl assembly, which I am at liberty to apply to such a purpose. The idea did not occur to the Legislature, or provision would, probably, have been made; whatever the Committee of Safety, after deliberate consultation; may deem expedient to be done by them - having such large discretionary powers - I will be happy to sustain them in, even, at the risk of exercising a doubtful power, if the public interest is to be subserved by it. When you shall have heard from Commodore Hollins, I hope you will communicate, further, his views to me. Very Respectfully, Your obed't Serv't (Signed) Jno Gill Shorter - =

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28 26 Executive Department. Montgomery, January 18th, 1862. To Maj Gen. Thos, W. McCoy, Mobile [check] Dear Sir, The pressure of official duties has prevented an earlier acknowlegement of your letter of the 14th Inst. covering returns for the Division under your command. While in your City and since my return to the Capitol, I have addressed special orders to Brigadier Genl Thos J. Butler, of the 9th Brigade, for an immediate - and thorough organization of his Brigade, and with instructions to report directly to this Department. Having been deprived, while in your city, of the pleasure of a personal - and free interview with you, upon the subject of our Military Defense, and- from a cause unknown to me, - until I was advised by yourself, on the wharf while in the act of leaving Mobile - I deemed that the Public Interest would be - most effectually promoted - by extending my orders to the Brigadier General - with whom I had full intercourse, and to whom I was enabled - unreservedly - to communicate my views - as to the policy to be adopted, to accomplish the object I desired.

It was not in my thought to deprive you of the command of the 9th Brigade, and I had no intimation, from any quarter, that, as I had the unquestioned power to address my orders to any Commander of Military Subdivisions, under the first section of the 12th Chapter of the Military Code, that it would be, personally, disagreeable to you, I thought I might do so - in discharge of public duty - even without comment.

The active movements to perfect the organization of the 9th Brigade - made necessary by the threatening conduct of the Enemy, I, also, believed could be expedited by direct communication between Brigadier Genl Butler and this Department. The Public exigency, in my own judgement, commended the course, and I have not had occasion to change that opinion. If this view of my duty and responsiblity - does not furnish, in your estimation, a justification of my acts - I have only to express my regrets - that you should feel, in the least, offended, where offense was, by no means, intended.

Should it become necessary to order the Brigade of Genl Butler into active service - I shall, certainly, communicate through you, not intending - or desiring to supersede you in the command of any portion of your Division.

For the promptness - with which - I am advised, that you extended my orders to the 22d Brigade, accept my thanks. Very resp'y Yr ob.t Ser't (Signed) Jno Gill Shorter = Executive Department. Montgomery, Jany20th, 1862 W. B. Modowell Esqr [check] McKinley, Ala. Dear Sir, I the midst of the severest pressure of public and official duties, I seize this opportunity to reply to your letter of the 8th inst. And, in reference to the action taken by by a portion of the Citizens of Marengo - to which you refer, I have only to say that I regret the public manifestation of any dis-satisfaction at what the General Assembly may have done - or omitted to do. And I also regret any growing

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27 29 disposition to embark the Legislature in new - and untried experiments, affecting the legitimate pursuits of the people. Hard-times- money pressures and individual calmities can be but slightly controlled by the interposition of questionable legislative expedients It is not the province of the Government to put money into the pockets of the People, so much as to protect it when deposited in the pockets of the Peoples by their own legitimate labor and Industry. Many of our People talk as though they expected to sustain an army of near half a million, and whip-out the Yankee Nation, and make no sacrifices of time or means. The progress of events is daily adding to our security - strength - and certainty of triumph, and all the energies of the State should be devoted to sustaining the Government, & the army in the field - to hasten - on the glorious day of our deliverance. But some people, in this hour of peril to all we hold most dear, seem to have their Horizon bounded by their own pecuniary interests; and, instead of nobly offering - up all they have - if need be - to maintain the honor of our Cause, are claiming at the Government to make them loans or advances - when every dollar the Government can raise, is needed to defend their Homes & firesides, and all our labors should be devoted, night-and day, to the accomplishment of this purpose.

The Legislature made all needful appropriations for the Public Defense, and all my energies shall be given to make them available. The "Cotton Scheme", as it was called, which failed in the House, was, in my judgement, a most unwise measure. Had it succeeded, it w,d have carried-up the indebtedness of the State to over thirteen Millions of Dollars, and the present tax-laws of the State would hardly have been sufficient to keep the State machinery in motion and pay the Interest on the Public Debt. I have not time to explain the matter, but it was most fortunate for the State, that the Scheme failed.

Our people must make sacrifices and endure privations - until we achieve our independence. If we are not prepared to do this, we do not deserve to be free. Thank God! such is the spirit of our people, that they will cheerfully peril all for the sacred cause in which we are engaged Your obt Ser't (Signed) Jno Gill Shorter. = Executive Department. Montgomery, Ala, Jany 24th 1862 Maj. Gen. Braxton Bragg; Pensacola. [check] Sir, I have a few hundred muskets here - now being altered from flint to percussion - a very good arm - smooth bore - with bayonets, which will will be ready for use in a week or two. My predecessor promised them to Col. Watts - for his men; and I am personally disposed to ship them to Col Watts, unless you are of opinion that the Public interest will be most subserved by shipping them to Mobile - for the use of the unarmed Troops, near that City. I have 100 boxed- and ready for shipment. The direction of these arms shall be controlled by your advice. Your obedient Servant, (Signed) Jno Gill Shorter. =

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