Fort Barrancas

rickvox79

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#1
Well my Florida/Alabama gulf coast Fort tour finally took me to Fort Barrancas yesterday. Some may remember I have posted pictures from Fort Pickens and Fort Morgan over the last 6 months. It was not a long tour, since my wife is 20 weeks pregnant and I wasn't going to force her to walk too much :eek: but it was a beautiful day and I was able to get some nice pictures. Fort Barrancas is smaller than Fort Pickens so didn't take us too long to get a good look.

A little history on the fort, it was built by the Spanish originally in 1698 and saw quite a bit of action for the next 150 years or so. It was originally Fort San Carlos de Austria. It was destroyed in 1719 when French forces captured Pensacola and later it was used by the British as a harbor fortification in 1763. The Spanish re-captured Pensacola in 1797, rebuilt the fort and named it San Carlos de Barrancas.

The fort saw more action in 1814 when Gen. Andrew Jackson led American forces to a victory in the Battle of Pensacola fought against the British, Spanish and Creek Indians and the fort was finally surrendered to him in 1818. In 1861 50 Federal troops were stationed there but abandoned the Fort and moved to Fort Pickens after Florida state troops demanded its surrender. The Federal troops fired at the state troops and after running them off initially Lt Adam Slemmer (acting commander) decided that Fort Pickens would be easier to defend so they moved there. Along with Fort McRee, Fort Barrancas was held by the Confederates and fought Union forces at Fort Pickens until eventually abandoning the Fort in May of 1862 after hearing New Orleans had been taken by Union forces.

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rickvox79

First Sergeant
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#2
Here are some more pictures. The last is a good look at Fort Pickens across the Bay and the pictures with the cannon also give you a look across the bay where Fort Pickens is located. Can you imagine the Union and Confederate troops staring at each other across the Bay, must have been interesting to say the least.

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Joined
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#6
Those are some great photographs! I haven't gotten down to Gulf Islands yet to see these forts, but they are in great shape for their age. Thanks for the pics!
 

rickvox79

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#8
Wonderful pictures! This one is my favorite!!

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Yeah I like that one a lot too. You can see Pensacola Beach across the bay and Fort Pickens there. Also at the bottom left above the bricks a baseball field in the distance...they played during down times! Kidding kidding, newly added :tongue:

Seriously though, any artillery experts know if it would be possible to land a shell with that cannon across the bay? Unfortunately I don't know the exact distance from one fort to the other but I've always heard that the two garrisons would fire at each other across the bay and it would land harmlessly in the water. Not sure if that is true or just a tall tale.
 

M E Wolf

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#9
O.R.-- SERIES I--VOLUME 1 [S# 1] CHAPTER I.
CORRESPONDENCE AND ORDERS RELATING SPECIALLY TO THE OPERATIONS IN CHARLESTON HARBOR FROM OCTOBER 31, 1860, TO APRIL 14, 1861.
UNION CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.--#7
WASHINGTON, April 3, 1861.
To the SECRETARY OF WAR:
Under the strongest convictions on some military questions upon which great political events seem about to turn, I feel impelled to state them, since they are of a nature to derive, possibly, a little weight from my official relation to them, and since, moreover, circumstances might cause my failing to make the statement in time to be considered as a grave delinquency. I refer particularly to the question of defending or abandoning Fort Sumter and Fort Pickens.

Fort Sumter.--In addition to what I have heretofore said as to the impracticability of efficiently re-enforcing and supplying this fort, I will now say only that if the fort was filled with men and munitions it could hold out but a short time. It would be obliged to surrender with much loss of life, for it would be bravely and obstinately defended, and the greater the crowd within the greater the proportionate loss. This issue can be averted only by sending a large army and navy to capture all the surrounding forts and batteries, and to assemble and apply these there is now no time. If we do not evacuate Fort Sumter it will be wrested from us by force.

Fort Pickens.--Were this fort provided with a garrison of eight hundred or one thousand good soldiers, fully supplied with everything necessary to the best defense, and ably commanded, its utmost term of resistance would be about three weeks--rather less than more. Were the besieging army practiced in the war of sieges, it would hardly be maintained for a fortnight. With a garrison of three hundred to five hundred men only, and in its present destitution of essential means, its siege supplies consisting of guns and ammunition merely, and these scanty and not of the best kind, the siege must be a very short one. But even the making good the deficiencies would, as stated above, only defer the issue for a week or so. In any case a quick surrender would be inevitable.

Regarding the fort independently of co-operation on one side or the other of a naval force, or of other fortifications in the harbor, these conclusions are not to be doubted, without disregarding all military experience. The occupation by the investing forces of the shore opposite, with numerous batteries pouring their showers of shot and shell into the fort, while the regular siege operations upon Santa Rosa Island were going on, would materially abridge the term of resistance. A naval force uniting in the defense, but confined to the waters outside of the harbor, might, to a certain extent, increase the casualties of the besiegers, but would not materially retard the operations. In that case the approaches would be pushed along the inshore face of the island, leaving the breadth of the island, with its sand hills and ridges, between them and the ships; and, moreover, two or three batteries planted on the out-shore face, and sheltered from the fire of the fort by sand hills and traverses, would compel ships to keep an out-of-range offing. Could this naval force act upon the bay side of Santa Rosa Island as well as upon the sea side, the progress of a siege, if practicable at all, might be greatly retarded. Under such circumstances this kind of attack would hardly be undertaken. Were the investing forces numerous and enterprising they might, nevertheless, even then attempt a coup de main; and, provided the garrison were weak in numbers, and worn out by a protracted cannonade and bombardment from the opposite shore, the chances of success would warrant the attempt.

But I consider that the passing of vessels of war into the bay would be a very hazardous proceeding in the face of Fort McRee, Fort Barrancas, its advanced battery, and several other batteries that all accounts agree in stating have been erected and mounted along the shore, from the navy-yard inclusive to and beyond the light-house. It is possible, however, that this channel might be passed at night by swift war steamers without utter destruction, and there might be retained by one or more of them enough efficiency to prevent the hostile occupation of the lower part of Santa Rosa Island, and the prosecution there of siege operations against Fort Pickens. In such event resort would certainly be had to cannonade and bombardment from the batteries on the opposite shore, and these plied with vigor and perseverance would at last reduce the fort to a condition incapable of resisting vigorous assault, since the garrison would be exhausted, and the means of defense on the cannonaded side have little efficiency left to them. The masonry on that part of the fort is exposed to sight, and to battering from top to bottom, and is pierced besides by a gateway and numerous embrasures, greatly weakening it. Every shot fired from the other shore would strike the walls, and every shell fall within them. With a brave and well-supplied garrison there would be an obstinate holding out, no doubt, but a surrender would at last close a scene in which on our side no other military virtues had room for display but fortitude and patience. The response of the fort to shot and shell would be by shot and shell, but with little proportionate chance of injury to the enemy's impassive batteries of sand.

This last mode of attack could be prevented, even with the command of the inner waters only, by landing upon the main shore a military force sufficient to capture all these forts and batteries, including the navy-yard. Admitting the supposition (quite unreasonable as I estimate our available army force) that we can before it is too late disperse the 3,000 or 5,000 men now in hostile array there and regain these possessions, what then? The Confederate States can assemble a large additional military force at Montgomery by railroad, and throw it down also by railroad upon Pensacola. Here there would be the struggle between the two armies--on land, and not between forts and batteries

The question that next arises is not whether this great nation is able with time to supply ample means in soldiers and munitions for such conflict, but whether, having expended nearly all its ready strength in reconquering the harbor fortifications and navy-yard, it could send timely and adequate re-enforcements. With our present military establishment and existing military laws I do not see how this would be possible before all that had been gained would be lost.

The seceded States, considering themselves as in a state of quasi warfare, see that if there is to be a struggle the very utmost of their military energies and resources will be called for. They see, besides, that to contend with the greater chance of success they must profit by our present state of military weakness, and under the first glow of a great political change they rush ardently into the requisite preparations. Upon the battle-field of Pensacola or its environs they are now stronger than we can become without the help of Congress, and they can and will augment their strength there if necessary beyond anything we can hope to do for yet many months.

The above and much like reasoning convince me that we cannot retain Fort Pickens, provided the other side is really in earnest, and follows up with like promptitude and energy their early military preparations. If we do not vacate this fort the result predicted as to Fort Sumter will certainly be realized here also--it will be taken from us by violence.

Should the above reasoning not meet acceptance, or for political reasons should it be decided to hold and defend this fort to the last; then I have to say that every soldier that can be spared should be sent to its relief with the utmost dispatch, accompanied by military supplies of every kind and in the greatest abundance.

To supply in some sort the want of a naval force within the bay as large a force as can be spared from the immediate protection of the fort should be encamped upon Santa Rosa Island at some distance from the fort, maintaining communication with it and detaching parties to watch the upper part of the island. These will give timely notice of the entrance thereupon of hostile troops, and will prevent the erection of batteries against our ships lying off shore, through which all supplies for the fort must be derived.

While the fort is uninjured many men need not remain within its walls to secure it from surprise or escalade. Of course the detached troops must be kept within reach of quick recall. Such measures may delay somewhat, though neither these nor any others now within our reach will, in my opinion, prevent the loss of Fort Pickens.

I present these thoughts to the consideration of the Secretary of War, and, if he thinks them of sufficient interest, to the perusal of the President, because they force themselves from me by the vehemence of the convictions.

Treating it purely as a professional question, I do not presume to advise as to the policy of the Government in this connection, merely presenting what seem to me to be incontrovertible facts and inevitable consequences of a military nature, that may, perhaps, be allowed to bear upon the political question.

Having no personal ambition or party feeling to lead or mislead me to conclusions, I have maturely studied the subject as a soldier bound to give all his faculties to his country, which may God preserve in peace!
Respectfully submitted.
JOS. G. TOTTEN,
Chief Engineer.
-----
 

M E Wolf

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#10
O.R.-- SERIES I--VOLUME 1 [S# 1] CHAPTER IV.
OPERATIONS IN FLORIDA.
No. 3. -- Reports of Lieut. Adam J. Slemmer, First U.S. Artillery, of the transfer of his command from Barrancas Barracks to Port Pickens, and subsequent events (to February 5, 1861) in Pensacola Harbor.

FORT PICKENS, FLA., February 5, 1861.
SIR: Having heard rumors that the forts and other public property in Pensacola Harbor were to be seized by troops under the orders of the governor of Florida, and having been advised of the seizure of the forts in Mobile Bay, I deemed it proper, having received no instructions from Washington, to endeavor to prevent, by all the means in my power, a like seizure here.

On the morning of the 7th ultimo, accompanied by Lieutenant Gilman, I called upon the commander of the navy-yard, Commodore Armstrong, to consult with him in reference to some plan to be adopted to insure the safety of the public property. We had a similar consultation on the evening of the same day and on the morning of the 8th. The commodore, in the absence of any orders, deemed it inexpedient to cooperate with us.

On the morning of the 8th I removed all the powder from the magazine in the Spanish battery of Fort Barrancas to the inner magazines, because, from its exposed position, it was liable to seizure at any moment. I also caused all the batteries to be put in working order, and at night placed a sergeant's guard in the fort with the drawbridge raised. That night a body of men (about twenty in number) came to the fort with the evident intention of taking possession. The corporal of the guard caused the alarm to be given, upon which the assailants retreated precipitately. The guard was immediately strengthened by half the company, but nothing further occurred that night.

On the morning of the 9th I received through the mail a letter, of which the following is a copy:


HEADQUARTERS OF THE ARMY,
Washington, January 3, 1861.
First Lieut. A. J. SLEMMER,
First Artillery, or Commanding Officer Barrancas Barracks, Fla.:
SIR: The General-in-Chief directs that you take measures to do the utmost in your power to prevent the seizure of either of the forts in Pensacola Harbor by surprise or assault, consulting first with the commander of the navy-yard, who will probably have received instructions to co-operate with you.
I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
GEO. W. LAY,
Lieutenant-Colonel, A. D. C.

Immediately on its reception, accompanied by Lieutenant Gilman, I called on Commodore Armstrong to consult with him. He had received orders to co-operate with me. We decided that with our limited means of defense we could hold but one fort, and that should be Fort Pickens, as it commanded completely the harbor and the forts, and also the navy-yard, and, in case of necessity, could be more readily re-enforced than either of the others, and presented the best means of defense. In order to act on this decision, the commodore promised to send the U.S. steamer Wyandotte at 1 o'clock p.m. to take us over, to give us all the men he could possibly spare, and to allow the steamer Wyandotte and the storeship Supply to anchor under the guns of the fort, in order to protect the land approach.

At 10 o'clock a.m. I came with the greater part of my command, Company G, First Artillery, to Fort Pickens to mount guns and make necessary preparations for defense, leaving Lieutenant Gilman at Barrancas Barracks with the remainder to make the necessary arrangements for removal. At I p.m. Lieutenant Gilman, seeing no signs of the promised assistance, called to see the commodore, and was informed by him that the only assistance he could afford would be to furnish some provisions and take the command over, which fact Lieutenant Gilman reported to me at Fort Pickens. I immediately stopped all work, sent the men back, and with Lieutenant Gilman went to see the commodore. I stated that I had been deceived by him; that he had promised me men and the co-operation of the two vessels of war, besides the mere fact of giving us provisions and taking us over; that with my command, only 46 strong, I should never dream of defending so large a work, calculated for upwards of 1,200 men; that I had been at work on that promise, and had thus lost a day's time in the preparation of Fort Barrancas for defense; that he had distinctly promised me what I asseverated. The commodore then sent for Commander Farrand, Lieutenant Renshaw, and Lieutenant-Commander Berryman, and gave instructions for carrying out the original design.

Captain Berryman, of the steamer Wyandotte, promised to be ready to leave his wharf at 5 p.m., at which time all should be in readiness at the Barrancas wharf for removal. I immediately returned to Barrancas Barracks to make preparations. As time was very limited all means were used to place the public property on the wharf for removal. Night came, and yet no signs of assistance. The company labored until 12 m., when a heavy fog coming in rendered it highly improbable that the steamer would come that night. At 8 a.m. on the 10th a flat-boat was sent to the wharf, which was loaded, as well as all the small boats which could be had. We were landed at Fort Pickens at about 10 a.m. On the way over, Captain Berryman turned over to me thirty ordinary seamen from the yard, without arms or equipments of any kind. We labored all day until night carrying up the stores to the fort, and arranging for its defense. I directed that all the powder in Fort Barrancas should be taken out and rolled to the beach, for transportation if possible; if not, for destruction. Yearly all the powder and all the fixed ammunition for the field battery was brought over that day. All the guns bearing on the bay were spiked by my orders, in position, as I had neither means nor time to dismount them. The provisions required were, by agreement with the commodore, to be drawn from the Supply as they were wanted, instead of sending them from the yard; yet, almost the instant we landed the master of the yard came with some small stores in a barge, bringing with him an order from Commodore Armstrong to land the stores immediately and proceed to anchor off the center wharf of the yard. As I was not ready to receive the stores, the Supply remained at her anchor that night.

On the morning of the 11th I was informed by Captain Walke that he had received another order from Commodore Armstrong to deliver the stores and return to the navy-yard. Captain Berryman also told me that he expected to sail that evening or the next morning for the south side of Cuba. I immediately caused the following note to be addressed to the commodore by my acting adjutant, Lieutenant Gilman:FORT PICKENS, FLA., January 11, 1861.
Commodore JAMES ARMSTRONG, U. S. Navy:
SIR: I understand that it is your intention to withdraw from this fort the protection of the U.S. steamer Wyandotte and the storeship Supply, contrary to the agreement between you and myself day before yesterday. I again have the honor to state, as I did to you in presence of several officers at our last interview, that without the aid of those vessels it will he utterly impossible, in my opinion, for me to protect this harbor, and I shall therefore, in case this assistance is withdrawn, instantly relinquish all hope of defending the place, and report the state of affairs immediately by a messenger to Washington. I most respectfully request an immediate answer as to whether the assistance above referred to is to be withdrawn or not.
I am sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
(By order of A. J. Slemmer, First Artillery, U.S. Army, Commanding Fort Pickens :smile:
J. H. GILMAN,
Second Lieutenant, First Artillery, Acting Adjutant of the Post.

To which the commodore replied as follows:

COMMANDANT'S OFFICE, U.S. NAVY-YARD, PENSACOLA,
Warrington, January 11, 1861.
Lieut. A. J. SLEMMER, U. S. Army, Commanding at Fort Pickens, Fla.:
SIR: In reply to your communication of this date, I have to state that the U.S. storeship Supply was sent to Fort Pickens by my order merely to convey the provisions you required and to return to this navy-yard. The Supply is not a vessel of war, and having been sent to this station on the special service of conveying stores and coal to Vera Cruz for the vessels of the home squadron stationed there, it is my duty to dispatch her to that port at the earliest moment practicable, in conformity with the orders I have received from the Navy Department, from which orders I cannot deviate further.

The steamer Wyandotte may be retained, for the purpose of co-operating with you, until further orders.
I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
JAMES ARMSTRONG,
Commandant.


The Wyandotte and Supply remained at anchor under the fort that night. Captain Berryman sent me during the evening thirty muskets and bayonets to arm the ordinary seamen, which he had procured after some difficulty from the navy-yard. He also had for me some musket cartridges which were promised me from the yard, as my supply was limited.

On the morning of the 12th, Captain Walke, of the Supply, showed me a communication to him from the commodore, saying that the yard was besieged, and that when attacked the Supply must immediately proceed to Vera Cruz. I received no information from the yard what, ever of the fact. I immediately addressed a note to the commodore, to this purport:

Commodore JAMES ARMSTRONG,
Commandant U. S. Navy-Yard, Warrington, Fla.:
SIR: I am informed that the navy-yard is besieged. In case you determine to capitulate, please send me the marines to strengthen my command.
I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
A. J. SLEMMER,
First Lieutenant, First Artillery, Commanding Fort Pickens.

To which I received no reply. Several hours after this the United States flag was lowered from the navy-yard. The Supply was towed outside by the Wyandotte, and both vessels remained anchored at a distance of about five miles. That night Captain Berryman told me that his orders of the previous evening were to co-operate with me, but especially that he must not fire a gun unless his vessel was attacked. He could offer me no assistance in case I were assaulted. Left thus entirely to depend on ourselves for defense--eighty-one men, including officers--active preparations were made for flank defense, the guns being loaded with grape and canister, and the embrasures closed as well as possible.

On my arrival I found that there was not a single embrasure shutter in the fort. I caused some to be constructed, and others to be taken from Fort McRee to supply the deficiency. Just after retreat four gentlemen (three in military clothing)presented themselves at the gate, and demanded admittance as citizens of Florida and Alabama. They were told that by order no person was permitted to enter the fort. They then asked to see the commanding officer. I immediately went to the gate, accompanied by Lieutenant Gilman. Mr. Abert, engineer of the yard, presented Captain Randolph, Major Marks, and Lieutenant Rutledge. After a pause, Captain Randolph said, "We have been sent to demand a peaceable surrender of this fort by the governors of Florida and Alabama." To which I replied that I was here under the orders of the President of the United States, and by direction of the General-in-Chief of the Army; that I recognized no right of any governor to demand a surrender of United States property; that my orders were distinct and explicit. They immediately withdrew.

At 12 o'clock at night the men were paraded and told off to the different batteries in anticipation of an attack, slow-match lighted, with lanyards and port fires in hand ready to fire. No signs of an attack; night very dark and rainy. We still labored on the 13th strengthening our position, and at night threw out sentinels beyond the glacis. Men stood at the guns as on the night previous. Night very dark and rainy. On the night of the 13th a body of some ten men were discovered evidently reconnoitering. A shot was fired by them, which was returned by the sergeant. They then retreated. Nothing more could be seen of the party that night. On the 14th nothing of interest transpired. Men by this time almost worn out with labor, standing guard, and at the batteries day and night, for we anticipated an attack at any moment.

[extensive and detailed report]
 

M E Wolf

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#11
O.R.-- SERIES I--VOLUME 1 [S# 1] CHAPTER IV.
CORRESPONDENCE AND ORDERS RELATING SPECIALLY TO THE OPERATIONS
IN FLORIDA FROM JANUARY 6 TO AUGUST 31, 1861.
CONFEDERATE CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.
ORDERS, No. 1
PENSACOLA, FLA.,
March 11, 1861.
I. In compliance with Special Orders No. 1 from the War Department, Confederate States of America, dated at Montgomery, Ala., March 7, 1861, Brigadier-General Bragg assumes the command of all troops in the service of said States in the vicinity of Pensacola. His headquarters will be at Fort Barrancas.
BRAXTON BRAGG,
Brigadier-General, Commanding.
-----
O.R.-- SERIES I--VOLUME 1 [S# 1] CHAPTER IV.
CORRESPONDENCE AND ORDERS RELATING SPECIALLY TO THE OPERATIONS
IN FLORIDA FROM JANUARY 6 TO AUGUST 31, 1861.
CONFEDERATE CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.

WAR DEPARTMENT, A. G. O.,
Montgomery, March 25, 1861.
Brig. Gen. BRAXTON BRAGG,
Comdg. Provisional Forces, Pensacola Harbor, Fort Barrancas :
SIR: In reply to your communication of the 21st, I am instructed by the Secretary of War to state that the Provisional Forces called into the service of the Confederate States for the defense of Pensacola Harbor are as follows: 1,000 infantry from Georgia; 1,000 from Alabama; 1,000 from Louisiana; 1,500 from Mississippi, and 500 from Florida, making in all 5,000 infantry. The organization of companies will be Such as may be furnished by States, but the number of privates should not fall below fifty per company. Should the companies come singly, or organized into battalions or regiments before muster into service, they will be received with such officers as have been furnished by the State, medical officers excepted. The field officers are either elected by the companies or appointed by the respective governors. Such medical officers as may be required for the troops of your command you are authorized to employ under contract. The battalion of Louisiana Zouaves, mentioned in my communication of the 19th instant, will be mustered as they arrive, including the officers who accompany them.

I inclose a brief of the organization of a regiment of infantry and a company of artillery and cavalry of the C. S. Army, as fixed by law.
I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
S. COOPER,
Adjutant-General.
 

M E Wolf

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#12
O.R.-- SERIES I--VOLUME 1 [S# 1] CHAPTER IV.
CORRESPONDENCE AND ORDERS RELATING SPECIALLY TO THE OPERATIONS
IN FLORIDA FROM JANUARY 6 TO AUGUST 31, 1861.
CONFEDERATE CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.
HEADQUARTERS SECOND BRIGADE, C. S. TROOPS,
Near Pensacola, Fla., August 8, 1861.
Hon. L. P. WALKER, Secretary of War:
DEAR SIR: Perhaps you would like to hear from this place, once of so much importance. The departure of General W. H. T. Walker and the sickness of Colonel Clayton have for a time placed me in command of the Second Brigade here. I have the First Alabama Regiment, the Seventh Alabama, and a Georgia battalion, with two independent companies, in all about two thousand three hundred men, with Fort Barrancas and three-fourths of all the batteries at this place. If there could be a fight I would have a fair chance for a place in it of some importance, but we look for nothing of the kind now. I believe that with three thousand additional troops Pickens can be easily taken, certainly with five thousand. We have much sickness. In my eight infantry companies there are two hundred on sick-list. In First Regiment three hundred and twenty-four out of nine hundred and seventeen are sick. Not so many in the Georgia battalion. Our troops are dispirited by inaction, desponding at the thought that they will never have a fight. I have had several conversations with the general, and find that he is regretting that no opportunity Could be afforded him on the field of Manassas to show his ability to control and fight an army. From what I have seen of him I have no doubt that his selection for this command has been a most judicious one. The army has throughout great confidence in him.

I find myself a good deal abused. I have established and maintained so far order and discipline in my regiment. It is difficult to bring volunteers down to a soldier's life, but we cannot succeed without it. If all the regiments at Manassas had been as well drilled as mine we would not have lost so many men. I refer to General W. H. T. Walker, who will be in Richmond, as to my regiment and how we are doing.

Well, after all this I wish to say that if Virginia is to be the field of fight, that Pensacola, is a fine place for a school of instruction, and the Seventh Regiment wants to graduate in about fifteen days or thereabouts, so as to make room for some green squad. We are only in for twelve months, and I am perfectly willing to stay here that long, but I want a place for the war. Alabama is offering many troops. I believe that I can take charge of a regiment and put it in fighting order in two months or less. If you transfer me to a regiment for the war, Colonel Coltart will have command here. He is a fine officer, and just now far more popular than I am in the regiment. If, then, Alabama should offer a number of companies sufficient to make a regiment, for which no commander has been selected, I ask for the post, to be transferred, and I refer to all the officers of this Army, regulars and volunteers, as to qualifications in drill and discipline.

I rejoice over Manassas for many reasons, and over the valor of the Fourth Regiment our boys have shouted time and again. I trust that the Government will find all their efforts crowned with success, and when we shall have soundly whipped the scoundrels the just need of praise will certainly be given to the man who in his office is laboring day and night to maintain and care for our vast Army. May Heaven bless you and strengthen you for your great labors.
Truly, your friend,
S. A. M. WOOD.
-----
 

M E Wolf

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#13
O.R.-- SERIES I--VOLUME 1 [S# 1] CHAPTER IV.
CORRESPONDENCE AND ORDERS RELATING SPECIALLY TO THE OPERATIONS
IN FLORIDA FROM JANUARY 6 TO AUGUST 31, 1861.
UNION CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.
ORDNANCE OFFICE,
Washington, D.C., January 3, 1861.
Hon. J. HOLT, Secretary of War:
SIR: I have the honor to acknowledge the reference to this office of a letter from the honorables Messrs. Yulee and Mallory, of the Senate, dated 2d instant, and, in compliance with their request, to report that there is only one arsenal in the State of Florida, and that is one of deposit only. It is called Apalachicola Arsenal, and is situated near the town of Chattahoochee, at the junction of the Flint and Chattahoochee Rivers.(++) The arms, ammunition, &c., now at that post, are one 6-pounder iron gun and carriage, with 326 shot and canisters for the same, 57 flintlock muskets, 5,122 pounds of powder, 173,476 cartridges for small-arms, and a small quantity of different kinds of accouterments.

The ordnance and ordnance stores at the other military posts in Florida are as follows:

At Fort Barrancas.--Forty-four sea-coast and garrison cannon and 43 carriages, viz: Thirteen 8-inch columbiads and howitzers; two 10-inch mortars, and eleven 32, ten 24, five 18, and three 19-pounder guns; 3,152 projectiles for the same; 20,244 pounds of powder, and 2,966 cartridge bags.

At Barrancas Barracks.--A field battery, consisting of four 6-pounder guns and two 12-pounder howitzers, with carriages, and six caissons, with 300 projectiles and 270 cartridge bags for the same.

At Fort Pickens.--Two hundred and one sea-coast and garrison cannon, viz: Four 10-inch columbiads and four 10-inch mortars, fifty 8-inch and flanking howitzers, and two 42, sixty-two 32, fifty-nine 24, six 18, and fourteen 12 pounder guns, and 128 carriages for the same; also, 4,974 projectiles of all kinds; 3,195 grape-shot, loose; 500 24-pounder stands canister shot; 12,712 pounds of powder, and 1,728 cartridge bags.

At Fort Taylor.--Sixty sea-coast and garrison cannon, viz: Fifty 8-inch columbiads and ten 24-inch flanking howitzers, with caissons, and four 12-pounder field howitzers, mounted; 4,530 projectiles, suited to the guns; 34,459 pounds of powder; 2,826 cartridge bags; 962 priming tubes, and 759 cartridges for small arms.

At Fort McRee.--One hundred and twenty-five sea-coast and garrison cannon, including three 10-inch and twelve 8-inch columbiads; twenty-two 42, twenty-four 32, and sixty-four 24 pounder guns, with 64 gun carriages; 9,026 projectiles, and 1,258 stands of grape and canister, and 19,298 pounds of powder.
At Key West Barracks.--Four 6-pounder field guns and carriages; 1,101 rounds of shot and other ammunition for the same; 171 pounds of powder; 158 cartridge bags; 538 priming tubes; 7 rifles, and 2,000 rifle cartridges.

At Fort Marion.--Six field batteries, of four 6-pounder guns and two 12-pounder howitzers, and twenty sea coast and garrison cannon, viz: Four 8-inch howitzers and sixteen 32-pounder guns; also, six 6-pounder old iron guns, and 31 foreign guns of various calibers; 2,021 projectiles; 330 rounds of fixed ammunition; 873 priming tubes, and 931 pounds of powder. Also, 110 muskets, 103 rifles, 118 Hall's carbines, 98 pistols, 147,720 cartridges for small-arms, and 15,000 percussion caps.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
WM. MAYNADIER,
Captain of Ordnance.
-----
 

M E Wolf

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#14
O.R.-- SERIES I--VOLUME VI, Chapter XVI [S# 6]
NOVEMBER 22-23, 1861.--Bombardment of the Confederate lines about Pensacola, Fla.
No. 12. -- Report of Lieut. Alexander N. Shipley, Third U. S. Infantry.
ORT PICKENS, FLA., November 26, 1861.
SIR: 1 have the honor to report the services rendered by the batteries under my command during the bombardment' of the 22d and 23d instant.
I had charge of one 10-inch columbiad in bastion D, barbette; two rifled guns, 42-pounders, James projectiles, in casemate in curtain D E, also one 8-inch columbiad, old pattern, in same curtain. The signal gun was fired at about 10 o'clock a.m. of the 22d, and, in obedience to instructions, the fire from the rifled-gun battery was directed on the rebel steamers lying at the navy-yard wharf. I used shells at an elevation of 6° 30'; charge of powder, 8½ pounds; range, 3,220 yards; fire inefficient; increased elevation to 8°, and subsequently to 9° and 9½°, before the steamers could be reached, it being necessary to break the arch of the embrasures to procure this last elevation. With these last data, so far as I could judge, the fire was effective. The firing from the rifled-gun battery was directed during the remainder of the first day and all of the second at the rebel batteries on the beach betwixt Barrancas Barracks and the navy-yard; the charge of powder same as before; range, from 2,235 yards to 3,220 yards; elevation, 6½° to 9½°. Projectiles during the first day were shells, and during the second solid shot, except an occasional shell. The firing generally, I think, was effective.

The 8-inch columbiad was directed on the same batteries both days; charge, 8 pounds; range as above; projectiles, shells; fuses varying from 10" to 14". The firing from this gun was much more accurate than that of the rifled battery. My 10-inch columbiad en barbette, bastion D, was directed on Fort Barrancas for the greater portion of the first day; range, 2,654 yards; charge, 12 pounds; projectiles, shells; fuse 13" and the firing satisfactory. During the rest of the first day and all of the second I directed its fire on the rebel batteries adjacent to Fort Barrancas; range nearly the same; charge the same; fuse varying from 12" to 15", and firing satisfactory.

I wish to speak well of the conduct of all my men, particularly my first sergeant, Francis C. Choate, and Sergts. William McClenzey and John Morris, and Corporals Theodore Kutcher and Nicholas Harper. I am glad to notice the coolness under a very heavy fire of the cannoneers of the columbiad en barbette and the alacrity and skill with which they discharged their duties. One of the rebel shells fell beside the gun, but fortunately failed to explode. A second buried itself in the magazine cover and exploded, setting fire to the sand bags and canvas cover. A third came through the splinter-proof erected for the shelter of the men, and, exploding, destroyed it, fortunately doing no serious injury to myself or the men beneath it. The firing of the casement guns I left principally in charge of Sergeants McClenzey and Morris. The magazine duties of the barbette gun I intrusted to my first sergeant, Choate.

I am, major, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
A. N. SHIPLEY,
First Lieutenant, Third Infantry, Commanding Company C.
Maj. LEWIS G. ARNOLD,
First U.S. Artillery, Commanding Batteries.
==================================================
Saw a lot of action! Lots of reports on this fort in the O.R.s...posted the ones with 'interesting facts.'

M. E. Wolf
 

rickvox79

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#15
Thanks M E for that information! So I guess it was just folklore that the shells landed short in the water. Just looking from Barrancas across the bay it didn't seem like it would be impossible to reach Fort Pickens and vice versa when I was at Pickens 6 months ago but I'm definitely not an artillery expert so wasn't sure. I found this on wikipedia, not the best source but pretty interesting.

On 9 October 1861 the commander of Confederate forces in Pensacola, General Braxton Bragg, ordered an assault on Fort Pickens that was ultimately unsuccessful. Colonel Harvey Brown, the commander of Union forces, felt this attack required an answer and planned an attack of his own. Fort McRee, the closest fortification to Fort Pickens and a road block to any attempted assault on Pensacola, was to be the primary target.[3]

Starting on the morning of 22 November 1861, Fort McRee was bombarded heavily by Union forces at Fort Pickens, and by two ships, Niagara and Richmond. Initially returning strong fire, the Confederates were able to hold their own and even managed to heavily damage the Richmond. However, the combined efforts of the two ships eventually led to the suppression of fire by an adjacent battery early in the afternoon with the guns of Fort McRee falling silent by 5pm. A fall in tide and the onset of darkness caused the two ships to withdraw.[4]
After the days fight, General Bragg sent messengers out to ascertain the extent of damage to the Confederate defenses. The commander of Fort McRee, Colonel John B. Villepique, advised that his position was heavily exposed on most sides and that half his weapons had been dismounted and their powder stores unprotected. Villepique stated he was unable to return fire and asked to sabotage the fort and withdraw. Worried about the effect the retreat would have not only on his men but the enemy as well, Bragg denied the request.[5]

At 10am on 23 November, the Niagara resumed its attack on Fort McRee as did the cannons at Fort Pickens. The guns of Fort McRee remained silent. The end of fighting that day signaled the end of the Colonel Brown's attack. Although Fort McRee survived, it was badly battered. Large chunks of the wall were blown away while other portions had holes shot clean through by the cannon shells. In one area a section of wall totally collapsed. Most of the wood decking within the fort had gone up in flames while one powder magazine caved in, killing six Confederates in the process.[6]

The actions on 22 and 23 November would be the last engagement for Fort McRee. Although there was an artillery duel on 1 January 1862, the fort was not a participant in that action.[7]
When Confederate forces abandoned Pensacola in May 1862, they burned Fort McRee and several other buildings in the area believed to be of strategic value. No mention in surviving records indicate that any repairs were made or even attempted on the fort by Union forces.


Fort McRee is nothing more than a few piles of bricks now. It is on a very small peninsula just outside of the bay with beach erosion and hurricanes washing much of it away.
 

M E Wolf

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#16
O.R.-- SERIES I--VOLUME 1 [S# 1] CHAPTER IV.
OPERATIONS IN FLORIDA.
January 6-August 31, 1861.
SUMMARY OF THE PRINCIPAL EVENTS.
January 6, 1861.--United States Arsenal at Apalachicola seized by State troops.
January 7, 1861.--Fort Marion, Saint Augustine, seized by State troops.
January 10, 1861.--Ordinance of secession adopted. U.S. troops transferred from Barrancas Barracks to Fort Pickens, Pensacola Harbor.
January 12, 1861.--Barrancas Barracks, Forts Barrancas and McRee, and the navy-yard, Pensacola, seized by State troops. Surrender of Fort Pickens demanded.
January 14, 1861.--Fort Taylor, Key West, garrisoned by United States troops.
January 15, 1861.--Second demand for surrender of Fort Pickens.
January 18, 1861.--Fort Jefferson, Tortugas, garrisoned by United States troops. Third demand for surrender of Fort Pickens.
January 24, 1861.--Re-enforcements for Fort Pickens sail from Fort Monroe, Va.
February 6, 1861.--U. S. steamer Brooklyn arrives off Pensacola with re-enforcements for Fort Pickens.
March 11, 1861.--Brig. Gen. Braxton Bragg, C. S. Army, assumes command of Confederate forces.
March 21, 1861.--Seizure of the sloop Isabella.
April 7, 1861.--Reinforcements for Fort Pickens sail from New York.
April 12, 1861.--Re-enforcements from Fort Monroe, and detachment of marines, landed at Fort Pickens.
April 13, 1861.--Bvt. Col. Harvey Brown, Second U.S. Artillery, assumes command of the Department of Florida.
April 17, 1861.--Re-enforcements from New York arrive at Fort Pickens.
August 5, 1861.--The Alvarado burned off Fernandina, by the U.S. steamer Vincennes.

O.R.-- SERIES I--VOLUME VI, Chapter XVI [S# 6]
Operations In West Florida, Southern Alabama, Southern Mississippi, And Louisiana. -- September 1, 1861-May 12, 1862.

SUMMARY OF THE PRINCIPAL EVENTS.
Sept. 9,1861. -- Destruction of United States dry-dock at Pensacola, Fla.
14, 1861. -- Descent on Pensacola navy-yard by boats from U.S. squadron.
Oct. 1, 1861. -- The Department of New England constituted, under command of Maj. Gen. Benjamin F. Butler, U.S. A.(*)
7, 1861. -- Maj. Gen. Braxton Bragg's command extended over the coast and State of Alabama.
9, 1861. -- Action on Santa Rosa Island, Fla.
14, 1861. -- The Department of Alabama and West Florida constituted, under command of Major-General Bragg, C. S. Army.
18, 1861. -- Maj. Gen. Mansfield Lovell, C. S. Army, supersedes Maj. Gen. David E. Twiggs in command of Department No. 1.
Nov. 22-23, 1861. -- Bombardment of the Confederate lines about Pensacola, Fla.
27, 1861. -- The Ship Island Expedition sails from Hampton Roads, Va.
Dec. 3, 1861. -- Ship Island, Miss., occupied by Union forces.
12, 1861. -- The Department of Alabama and West Florida extended to embrace Pascagoula Bay and that portion of Mississippi east of the Pascagoula River.
Jan. 1, 1862. -- Bombardment of Forts McRee and Barrancas, Pensacola Harbor.
20, 1862. -- Contest over the British schooner Andracita on the coast of Alabama.
27, 1862. -- Brig. Gen. Jones M. Withers, C. S. Army, assigned to command of the Army of Mobile.
Brig. Gen. Samuel Jones, C. S. Army, assigned to command of the Army of Pensacola.
Feb. 22, 1862. -- Brig. Gen. Lewis G. Arnold, U.S. Army, supersedes Col. Harvey Brown, Fifth U.S. Artillery, in command of the Department of Florida.
23, 1862. -- The Department of the Gulf constituted, under command of Maj. Gen. Benjamin F. Butler, U.S. Army.
Feb. 28, 1862. -- Brig. Gen. Samuel Jones, C. S. Army, supersedes Major-General Bragg in command of the Department of Alabama and West Florida. (*)
March 8, 1862. -- Col. Thomas M. Jones, Twenty-seventh Mississippi Infantry, assigned to command at Pensacola.
15, 1862. -- The Department of Florida merged into the Department of the South, Maj. Gen. David Hunter, U. S. Army, commanding.
20, 1862. -- Maj. Gen. Benjamin F. Butler, U.S. Army, assumes comand of the Department of the Gulf.
27-31, 1862. -- Reconnaissance on Santa Rosa Island, Fla.
April 3- 4, 1862. -- Expedition from Ship Island to Biloxi and Pass Christian, Miss.
7, 1862. -- Affair at Saint Andrew's Bay, Fla.
18-28, 1862. -- Bombardment and capture of Forts Jackson and Saint Philip, La.
25, 1862. -- New Orleans, La., captured by the U.S. Navy.
27, 1862. -- Fort Quitman, La., abandoned by the Confederate forces.
Forts Livingston, Pike, and Wood, La., recaptured by Union forces.
28, 1862. -- Surrender of Forts Jackson and Saint Philip, La.
28, 1862. -- Brig. Gen. John H. Forney, C. S. Army, assigned to command of The Department of Alabama and West Florida.
May 1, 1862. -- New Orleans, La., occupied by the Union forces.
9-12, 1862. -- Evacuation of Pensacola, Fla., by the Confederates, and its occupation by the Union forces.
 

M E Wolf

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#17
Might be interesting (distances, etc)

O.R.-- SERIES I--VOLUME VI, Chapter XVI [S# 6]
NOVEMBER 22-23, 1861.--Bombardment of the Confederate lines about Pensacola, Fla.
No. 1. -- Reports of Col. Harvey Brown, Fifth U.S. Artillery, Commanding Department of Florida.
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF FLORIDA,
Fort Pickens, November 25, 1861.
GENERAL: That Fort Pickens has been beleaguered by the rebels for the last nine months, and that it was daily threatened by the boasting rebels with the fate of Sumter, is a fact notorious to the whole world. Since its occupancy by Lieutenant Slemmer the rebels have been surrounding it with batteries and daily arming them with the heaviest and most efficient guns known to our service--guns stolen from us--until they considered this fort as virtually their own, its occupancy being only a question of time. I have been in command since the 16th of April, and during the whole of that time their force has averaged, so far as I can learn, from eight to ten times the number of mine. The position in which I have thus been placed has been sufficiently trying, and I have at three separate times intended to free myself from it by opening my batteries on them; but imperious circumstances, over which I had no control, have unexpectedly in each instance prevented.
[excerpt]
Having invited Flag-Officer McKean to co-operate with me in attacking the rebels, and to which he gave a ready and cordial assent, I on the morning of the 22d opened my batteries on the enemy, to which in the course of half an hour he responded from his numerous forts and batteries, extending from the navy-yard to Fort McRee, a distance of about 4 miles, the whole nearly equidistant from this fort, and on which line he has two forts, McRee and Barrancas, and fourteen separate batteries, containing from one to four guns, many of them being 10-inch columbiads and some 12 and 13 inch sea-coast mortars, the distance varying from 2,100 to 2,900 yards from this fort. At the same time of my opening Flag-Officer McKean, in the Niagara, and Capt. Ellison, in the Richmond, took position as near to Fort McRee as the, depth of water would permit, but which, unfortunately, was not sufficiently deep to give full effect to their powerful batteries. They, however, kept up a spirited fire on the fort and adjacent batteries during the whole day. My fire was incessant from the time (if opening until it was too dark to see, at the rate of a shot for each gun every fifteen or twenty minutes, the fire of the enemy being somewhat slower. By noon the guns of Fort McRee were all silenced but one, and three hours before sunset this fort and the adjoining battery ceased to fire. I directed the guns of Batteries Lincoln, Cameron, and Totten principally on the batteries adjacent to the navy-yard, those of Battery Scott to Fort McRee and the light-house batteries, and those of the fort to all. We reduced very perceptibly the fire of Barrancas, entirely silenced that in the navy-yard and in one or two of the other batteries, the efficiency of our fire at the close of the day not being the least impaired.

The next morning I again opened about the same hour, the Navy, unfortunately (owing to a reduction in the depth of water, caused by a change of wind), not being able to get so near as yesterday, consequently the distance was too great to be effectual. My fire this day was less rapid and, I think, more efficient than that of yesterday. Fort McRee, so effectually silenced yesterday, did not fire again to-day. We silenced entirely one or two guns, and had one of ours disabled by a shot coming through the embrasure. About 3 o'clock fire was communicated to one of the houses in Warrington, and shortly after to the church steeple. The church and the whole village being immediately in rear of some of the rebel batteries (they apparently having placed them purposely directly in front of the largest and most valuable buildings), the fire rapidly communicated to other buildings along the street, until probably two-thirds of it was consumed, and about the same time fire was discovered issuing from the back part of the navy-yard, probably in Woolsey, a village to the north and immediately adjoining the yard, as Warrington does on the west. Finally it penetrated to the yard, and, as it continued to burn brightly all night, I concluded that either in it or in Woolsey many buildings were destroyed. Very heavy damage was also done to the buildings of the yard by the avalanche of shot, shell, and splinters showered unceasingly on them for two days, and as they were nearly fire-proof (being built of brick and covered with slate), I could not succeed in firing them, neither my hot shot nor shells having any power of igniting them. The steamer Time, which was at the wharf at the time, was abandoned on the first day and exposed to our fire, which probably entirely disabled her. The fire was again continued until dark, and with mortars occasionally, until 2 o'clock the next morning, when the combat ceased. This fort at its conclusion, though it has received a great many shot and shell, is in every respect, save the disabling of one gun-carriage and the loss of service of 6 men, as efficient as it was at the commencement of the combat, but the ends I proposed in commencing having been attained, except one, which I find to be impracticable with my present means, I do not deem it advisable further to continue it, unless the enemy thinks proper to do so, when I shall meet him with alacrity. The attack on “Billy Wilson’s” camp, the attempted attack on my batteries, and the insult to our glorious flag have been fully and fearfully avenged. I have no means of knowing the loss of the enemy, and have no disposition to guess at it. The firing on his batteries was very heavy, well-directed, and continuous for two days, and could hardly fail of having had important results. Our losses would have been heavy but for the foresight which, with great labor, caused us to erect elaborate means of protection, and which saved many lives. I lost 1 private killed, 1 sergeant, 1 corporal, and 4 privates wounded, only 1 severely. My officers, non-commissioned officers, and privates were everything I could desire. They one and all performed their duty with the greatest cheerfulness and in the most able and efficient manner.
[end of excerpt]
----------------------------------
O.R.-- SERIES I--VOLUME VI, Chapter XVI [S# 6]
NOVEMBER 22-23, 1861.--Bombardment of the Confederate lines about Pensacola, Fla.
No. 15. -- Reports of Maj. Gen. Braxton Bragg, C. S. Army, Commanding Army of Pensacola.
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF PENSACOLA,
Near Pensacola, Fla., November 25, 1861.
SIR: As you were advised by telegraph at 9.30 a.m., on the 22d the enemy opened fire on our lines, without notice, from Fort Pickens and his sand batteries. Shortly thereafter his two large naval steamers off our harbor took up position and joined in the conflict. We responded from such of our guns as were best calculated to damage him in a contest at long range. His fire was first directed on the navy-yard, where our transportation steamer had just arrived heavily loaded, but in a short time our whole line was enveloped in a terrific fire, which was kept up without intermission until darkness put an end to it. Fort McRee seemed to be the main point of attack, the ships, the heaviest out-batteries, and a large portion of Fort Pickens devoting their entire time to it. Knowing the condition of it, I felt great apprehension, but was strengthened in my hope by the confidence I had in its noble commander, Colonel Villepigue, and his brave garrison of Georgians and Mississippians.

Our casualties for the day, thanks to the enemy's wild firing, were only 9 wounded, 2 mortally, 2 severely, and 5 slightly. Colonel Villepigue among the latter. Five valuable lives were lost in addition near Fort McRee by an unfortunate accident.

[excerpt]
--------
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF PENSACOLA,
Near Pensacola, Fla., December 4, 1861.
SIR: The reports of subordinate commanders having been mostly received,(*) I am enabled to give you a more detailed account of our recent passage at arms with the enemy:

On the morning of the 22d of November, about 9.30 o'clock, he opened fire from Fort Pickens and all his outer batteries without the slightest warning. His first shot were directed principally upon the navy-yard and Fort McRee, the former known to be occupied by women and children and non-combatants, and used by us for defensive purposes only. In less than haft an hour we were responding, and the enemy distributed his fire on our whole line.

Soon after Fort Pickens opened two large naval steamers, supposed to be the Niagara and Hartford [Richmond], took position due west from Fort McRee and within good range, from whence they poured in broadsides of the heaviest metal throughout the day. From the defective structure of Fort McRee it was unable to return this terrific fire with any effect.

[excerpt]
Our loss from the enemy's shot was 21 wounded-- 1 mortally, who died that night; 12 of the others so slightly as not to take them from duty. By an unfortunate accident--the caving in of a defective magazine, badly planned and constructed--we had 6 other gallant men smothered, who died calling on their comrades never to give up the fort. Our women and children escaped, through a shower of balls, without an accident.

------------------------------
O.R.-- SERIES I--VOLUME VI, Chapter XVI [S# 6]
MAY 9-12, 1862.--Pensacola, Fla., abandoned by the Confederates and occupied by the Union forces.
REPORTS.
No. 1.
Reports of Brig. Gen. Lewis G. Arnold, U. S. Army.
HDQRS. WESTERN DISTRICT, DEPT. OF THE SOUTH,
Pensacola, Fla., May 10, 1862.
MAJOR: I have the honor to report that about 12 o'clock last night it was reported to me that Fort McRee, the navy-yard, Marine Hospital and Barracks, and several other buildings, and two rebel steamboats were on fire, which, being simultaneously ignited, indicated that they had been abandoned by the rebels and purposely fired by them. To prevent the spread of these fires and to disperse these wicked destroyers of property, I opened my batteries with a very happy effect. I directed my aide-de-camp and acting assistant adjutant-general, Lieutenant Jackson, to go on board a small naval schooner lying off the harbor, to run in, and summon the city of Pensacola to surrender, which the mayor did to the extent of his authority, which has been very limited.

Commodore Porter arrived here this morning on board the gunboat Harriet Lane. With his kind assistance in transporting my men across the bay I have been enabled to take military possession of Forts Barrancas and McRee, Barrancas Barracks, and the navy-yard, over which the flag of the Union now waves. Fort Barrancas is very little injured by the fire and Barrancas Barracks not at all. Fort McRee is seriously damaged, Marine Hospital destroyed, and several store-houses in the navy-yard were burned.

I am, major, respectfully, your obedient servant,
L. G. ARNOLD,
Brigadier-General, U. S. Volunteers, Commanding.
Maj. CHARLES G. HALPINE,
Assistant Adjutant-General, U. S. Vols., Dept. of the South.
--------------------------------------
continued
 

M E Wolf

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#18
No. 2.
Reports of Col. Thomas M. Jones, Twenty-seventh Mississippi Infantry.
MOBILE, ALA., May 14, 1862.
SIR: In accordance with your instructions i have the honor respectfully to tender the following report of my evacuation of the forts, navy-yard, and position at and near Pensacola, Fla.:
[excerpt]
When my infantry were well on the road, and out of range of the enemy's guns, the cavalry were assigned their places to commence the necessary destruction at a signal previously agreed upon, to be given from the cupola of the hospital, and one answering at the navy-yard, Barrancas, and Fort McRee. Precisely at 11.30 o'clock, when everything was perfectly quiet, both on the enemy's side and ours, tethe most painful duty it ever fell to my lot to perform was accomplished, namely, the signalizing for the destruction of the beautiful place which I had labored so hard night and day for over two months to defend, and which I had fondly hoped could be held from the polluting grasp of our insatiate enemies. The two blue-lights set off by Colonel Tattnall and myself at the hospital were promptly answered by similar signals from the other points designated, and scarcely had the signals disappeared ere the public buildings, camp tents, and every other combustible thing from the navy-yard to Fort McRee were enveloped in a sheet of flames, and in a few moments the flames of the public property could be distinctly seen at Pensacola. The custom-house and commissary storehouses were not destroyed for fear of endangering private property, a thing I scrupulously avoided.

As soon as the enemy could possibly man their guns and load them, they opened upon us with the greatest fury, and seemed to increase his charges as his anger increased. But in spite of bursting shell, which were thrown with great rapidity and in every direction, the cavalry proceeded with the greatest coolness to make the work of destruction thorough and complete, and see that all orders were implicitly obeyed. Their orders were to destroy all the camp tents, Forts McRee and Barrancas, as far as possible, the hospital, the houses in the navy-yard, the steamer Fulton, the coal left in the yard, all the machinery for drawing out ships, the trays, shears--in fact everything which could be made useful to the enemy. The large piles of coal were filled with wood and other combustibles and loaded shells put all through it, so that when once on fire the enemy would not dare to attempt to extinguish it. Loaded shell were also placed in the houses for the same purpose, and the few small smooth-bore guns I was compelled to leave were double. shotted, wedged, and spiked, and carriage-chassis burned. The shears in the navy-yard were cut haft in two, and the spars and masts of the Fulton were cut to pieces.

[excerpt]
All of the powder and most of the large shot and shell were removed; the small-sized shot were buried. I succeeded in getting away all the most valuable machinery, besides large quantities of copper, lead, brass, and iron; even the gutters, lightning-rods, window weights, bells, pipes, and everything made of these valuable metals were removed; also cordage. blocks, cables, chain cables, and a large number of very valuable articles of this character which I cannot here enumerate.

All the quartermaster and commissary stores, except such as were not worth the transportation, were sent away. As soon as this was completed I set hands to work taking up the railroad iron at Pensacola and others to reeling up the telegraph wires, under the protection of a strong guard of cavalry, infantry, and one piece of light artillery. Having received orders not to destroy any private property, I only destroyed at Pensacola a large oil factory, containing a considerable quantity of resin, the quartermaster's store-houses, some small boats, and three small steamers used as guard boats and transports. The steamers Mary and Helen were the only private property of their kind burned.
[excerpt]
The steamboat Turel, which we had been using as a transport, was sent up the Escambia River, she being of very light draught, well loaded with stores, machinery, &c., with orders to cut down trees and place every obstruction possible in the river behind her. She has arrived safely at a point I deem beyond the enemy's reach, and she has been unloaded of her freight. The casemates and galleys of Fort McRee were filled with old lumber and many loaded with shell and fired. The galleries and implement rooms at Barrancas were similarly dealt with, and the destruction at both places was as complete as it could be without the use of gunpowder. This I did not deem it necessary or proper to use for this purpose. The enemy's furious cannonade only served to make the havoc more complete. There was no damage done by it to man or horse.

[excerpt]
I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
THOS. M. JONES,
Acting Brigadier-General, C. S. Army.
Brig. Gen. JOHN H. FORNEY,
Commanding Department of Alabama and West Florida.
 

M E Wolf

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#19
Navy O.R.-- Series 1--Volume 21 [S# 21]
West Gulf Blockading Squadron.
From January 1 To December 31, 1864. pp. 857-end
Confederate Reports And Correspondence.

Letter from Lieutenant Baker, C. S. Navy, to the Secretary of the Navy, requesting his permission for the attack.
C. S. S. HUNTSVILLE,
Mobile, August 18, 1864.
SIR: I take the liberty of addressing you on a subject, the importance of which will, I trust, excuse the informality of my action.
From information which I have received from time to time, but particularly since the arrival of William Newman, who made his escape a few days ago from Fort Pickens, I am convinced that the capture of the fort can be readily accomplished. Not dreaming that we have any designs upon it, and deluding themselves with the idea that its isolated position renders it safe from attack, they have become exceedingly careless, having only two sentinels on duty, one at the east face of the fort and the other at the gate opposite Barrancas.
The garrison consists of about 100 men, and with the exception of the guard (15 men), all sleep with their arms stacked.

I enclose herewith a proposition I submitted to Generals Maury and Higgins, which they highly approved, proffering me all the men and arms necessary. Commodore Farrand also approved of the project, and indeed ordered me to make the necessary preparations, but afterwards concluded he could not well spare my services at this juncture.

As a Floridian, I am particularly anxious to recapture Fort Pickens, and believe the way is now open to us.

I propose taking about 60 men with four small boats, pulling down the eastern shore of the bay into Bon Secours, and, hauling the boats across a narrow strip of land into Little Lagoon, I would enter the Gulf at a point 20 miles east of Fort Morgan and be within seven hours' pull of Fort Pickens, with nothing to interrupt our progress. Fort McRee is dismantled and abandoned, so we might pull close in under the land and then across the channel, making a landing between the wharf at the fort and the point. Once landed, we could effect an entrance through the sally ports, or by seizing the sentinel at the gate and calling for the corporal of the guard, who always comes alone and opens the gate.

Mr. Newman says there are immense stores of provisions, medicines, ordnance, etc., both in the fort and at the yard. In the event of our succeeding, General Maury would send a cooperating force by land against the yard, which, being assailed in front and rear, must necessarily surrender. The reinforcement we would receive in the prisoners (numbering some fifty) would enable us to hold the fort without a doubt.

Believing, sir, that the capture of this place would be of incalculable advantage to us at this time, giving us as it would an open port and distracting the attention of the enemy from more vital points, together with the probability of recapturing our noble admiral and the officers confined there, I most respectfully and earnestly request that you will detach myself and brother for the purpose of undertaking this expedition.

Having already reconnoitered the proposed route, and being perfectly familiar with the coast and the localities in and around the fort, I feel confident in asserting the feasibility of the enterprise.

Trusting this will meet your approbation,
I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
JAS. McC. BAKER,
Lieutenant, C. S. Navy.
Hon. S. R. MALLORY,
Secretary Navy.
NOTE.--If you approve of the above, it would be well to take advantage of the next dark nights.
 

rickvox79

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#20
Wow, thanks again for the info M E. It is interesting to see that even in August 1864 the Confederates were still interested in trying to take Fort Pickens.

"Believing, sir, that the capture of this place would be of incalculable advantage to us at this time, giving us as it would an open port and distracting the attention of the enemy from more vital points, together with the probability of recapturing our noble admiral and the officers confined there, I most respectfully and earnestly request that you will detach myself and brother for the purpose of undertaking this expedition."

I wonder which "noble admiral" he is speaking of there? Also is there any more information on the ground attack that the Confederates attempted in Oct 1861?
 

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