Fort Pickens 1861


Aug 20, 2017
Los Angeles, California
I started looking into the situation at Fort Pickens that was running simultaneous with Fort Sumter and am a little confused on the timeline.

For example, I've seen the below Frank Leslie's illustration dated to both March 23 and April 17:

This one is March 23, and that seems to be the most prevalent, but I've seen April 17 too in a few places. One source said that the original date in Frank Leslie's seen above is wrong (

Here's what I've roughed out:
January 8, 1861 - In Florida, Lieutenant Adam J. Slemmer’s men drive off with gunshots and bayonets a group of local citizens trying to seize Fort Barrancas. Some call these the first shots of the Civil War. Over the next two days, Slemmer destroys the gunpowder and spikes the guns of Forts McRee and Barrancas in preparation of moving to Fort Pickens.

January 10, 1861 - Florida secedes. Lieutenant Adam J. Slemmer and his troops move to Fort Pickens.

January 12, 1861 - Florida and Alabama militia seize the abandoned Forts Barrancas and McRee in Florida.

January 15, 1861 - The South demands the surrender of Fort Pickens

January 16, 1861 - Slemmer rejects the demand to surrender Fort Pickens.

January 18, 1861 - Slemmer rejects another demand to surrender Fort Pickens.

January 24, 1861 - The Sloop-of-War USS Brooklyn under Captain Vodges sets out from Norfolk, Virginia to relieve Fort Pickens.

January 28, 1861 - A truce is reached such that the South won't attack Fort Pickens if it is not reinforced.

February 6, 1861 - The USS Brooklyn arrives off Fort Pickens. Captain Vodges takes over command of the fort but is not permitted to land troops.

March 9, 1861 - Braxton Bragg takes over Confederate forces in the area of Pensacola, Florida. (or was it March 7?)

March 12, 1861 - After a dispute between Captain Vodges of the USS Brooklyn and Lieutenant Slemmer over who was in command, Vodges decides to stay aboard the Brookyln with his troops.

April 1, 1861 - General Winfield Scott orders Colonel Harvey Brown to take four companies of soldiers to Fort Pickens and assume command.

April 7, 1861 - Colonel Brown sets sail from New York bound for Fort Pickens with a relief fleet.

April 16, 1861 - The relief fleet led by Colonel Harvey Brown arrives in Pensacola to reinforce the garrison at Fort Pickens. About 200 men are offloaded that night.

April 17, 1861: The remaining troops in Colonel Harvey Brown's relief fleet land to reinforce Fort Pickens. That day, the USS Powhatan anticlimactically arrives in Pensacola after much incident.

Is this timeline correct? Was the relief on March 23 or April 17?

Did Frank Leslie's get it wrong in their May 11, 1861 edition?

PLEASE NOTE: I am just looking for clarity on the timeline, not which side was right or wrong in the endeavor.

These sources had a lot of dates but neither is exactly scholarly:

Some other sketches from Frank Leslie's for fun (I found this gem today: <-- some of the pages do seem to be out of order though)
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