Status: Needs Review

[unfortunately], & which was to be attributed to the known incapacity of the many inefficent officers, who had been elected
under our peace - establishment; & they had not the nerve or will to unhorse them - reorganize, and order new
elections. The wide difference of opinion, which manifested itself, & which satisfied me of the inability of calling
the same body of men back, into an extraodinary session, induced me to let the responsibility rest where
it properly belonged. Within a fortnight after the Legislature adjourned, I issued the enclosed "Appeal to
the people of Aabama"; published it in every paper - sent copies to every member of the Legislature, to
every county Judge, & Sheriff in the state; besides, to a large number of influential private citizens.
Such was the state of false security, felt by the people; and so absorbed were very many in schemes
of aggrandizement, & their daily pursuits, that this earnest appeal - beyond a few brief notices, of a
few of the presses, passed unheeded, & unnoticed; and many, now, have, even, forgotten it, and I am, daily-
receiving letters, urging me to issue just such a Proclamation! But I did not stop here. Early in
January, I had issued, from the office of the Adjutant-Gen - an order to all the Gen. officers, of the
Militia, throughout the State, directing an immediate enrollement of every man in the state, liable to
Militia duty; and that a report be made to the head quarters, without delay, in order that I might know
the available military strength left in the state - and its locality. In response to this urgent
peremptory order, but two reports have, up to this date, been received. These are from Brigadiers. There
are, in the state, 11 Divisions & 22 Brigades! I have, now, again directed an order to be issued
by the Adjutant-Gen. to every Maj. Gen. in the state, to proceed, without delay, to a thorough
organization of every portion of his command, with a view to active service in the field, if the
emergency shall require it, to have all vacancies promptly filled, & in case of invasion, where it will be
impracticable to await orders from head-quarters, to order-out their Commands, or any portion, for
the protection & defense of the state. §. Your suggestions, as to the the establishment of a line of
couriers, are approved, & were anticipated by a letter from this Department, to F. C. Taylor Esq, of
Greensboro', -a copy of which is enclosed - directing him to provide the necessary organization to that effect
Being the Contractor on the Mail-lines connecting with Columbus Missi. and possessing, at his
different Stables, on the various lines of communication, a constant relay of horses, which could be
made available, at any moment; it was deemed most advisable to commit this arrangement
to him. I invited him to the Capitol, & had a full personal interview with him, in explanation
of the plan, & purpose, & he has promised its undertaking & expedition, with energy & zeal, & I rely,
confidently, upon his success. The Major-Gen. of the 2d Division, embracing the counties
of Bibb - Shelby, Tuscaloosa & Pickens, is N. W. Davis, of Pickens, who is absent in the
Confederate Service. The Brigadier of the 5th Brigade - embracing Tuscaloosa & Pickens, is Andrew
Wier, who is at home - & the ranking officer in the Division & responsible for its organization.
The late Brigadier, of the 24th Brigade - including the Counties of Bibb & Shelby, resigned,
& although an Election, to fill the vacancy, was ordered, long since, no return has been made.
I have no power to displace or appoint. §. Col. R. Jemison, jr, is my special A. de C. at
Tuscaloosa. I had an interview with him, a few days since, as he passed through this city, on his
return from Richmond; and he will represent me, in the extension of all necessary orders, for the
public defense, in your section of the State. §. I beg to assure you, that I do not deem what you
may have said or done, towards military organization for the protection of the state, as officious,
in the slightest degree. On the contrary, I return you sincere thanks, for your patriotic
zeal & energy, & I hope you will abate or weary, in giving your personal services, &
valuable counsel, in behalf your suffering country. I have none of that vain self assurance
which claims ominiscience, and impunity from the interference or suggestions of any
one of our good & true men; but I am gratified, at all times, to have the benefit of their
advice & assistance. I notice your remarks upon the subject of the impressment of
horses, and other property, in case of emergency, for the public Defense. The military Arm
has never failed to exercise their power, in case of extreme neccessity, & its justification
rests upon the fact of necessity. In a proper case, there should be no hesitation, as
to the exercise of the power, by a military commander. Nor can General orders be
issued, which would make the duty more incumbent, or which could define with
particularity, the occasion, or combination of facts, where the power should be
exercised. The principle is given - the power exists, & its exercise is a question to be
determined by the officer, in command, in any given emergency.

It is my intention to be at Tuscaloosa, by the 3d proximo.
Jno Gill Shorter.

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