Was Fort Pickens the real prize?

Joined
Oct 24, 2019
We talk alot about Fort Sumter, but was Fort Pickens the real prize? If the CSA has gained control of Fort Pickens wouldn't they be able to control The Warrington/Pensacola Navy Yards? Isn't that kind of big deal?

fort pickens.png
 

FPT

Private
Joined
Jun 28, 2012
We talk alot about Fort Sumter, but was Fort Pickens the real prize? If the CSA has gained control of Fort Pickens wouldn't they be able to control The Warrington/Pensacola Navy Yards? Isn't that kind of big deal?

View attachment 419672
I guess it would have to be determined the amount of losses that the Confederates would have been willing to accept in an attempt to capture the fort.
 

NFB22

Sergeant Major
Joined
Jun 21, 2012
Location
Louisville, KY
An attempt was made during the Battle of Santa Rosa Island in late 1861 to take Fort Pickens as Confederate forces already controlled Fort McRee, Fort Barrancas, and shore facilities at both Warrington and Pensacola.

I believe that had the attack been successful or had Slemmer simply surrendered the position in early 1861, that eventually the fort, along with Fort McRee, could have been taken by siege operations relatively early in the war. Santa Rosa Island, along with Perdido Key are long barrier islands that would afford an easy amphibious landing and such an operation would have been supported by naval forces outside the bar. A good example of such an operation would be the Siege of Fort Macon in North Carolina.
 

USS ALASKA

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Mar 16, 2016
We talk alot about Fort Sumter, but was Fort Pickens the real prize? If the CSA has gained control of Fort Pickens wouldn't they be able to control The Warrington/Pensacola Navy Yards? Isn't that kind of big deal?

Sir, the pluses that I see are as follows.

1. The Naval Yard
2. One more port for blockade runners to use.
3. One more port for Union blockaders to cover thereby spreading them thinner (at first)

Minuses

1. Manning required that could be used elsewhere
2. Perhaps the loss of the desperately needed rails that were ripped up from the Alabama & Florida (of Florida) RR - please see @DaveBrt 's http://www.csa-railroads.com/

Questions;
1. Does the Confederacy have the resources to benefit from the utility of the naval yard vs. the cost of defending it?
2. Does Pensacola provide anything Mobile doesn't?

Cheers,
USS ALASKA
 
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NFB22

Sergeant Major
Joined
Jun 21, 2012
Location
Louisville, KY
The blockading squadron in the Gulf was pretty well supplied out of Key West and Pensacola Bay would have been relatively easy to blockade early in the war in my opinion even had Confederate forces occupied Fort Pickens. Especially after the capture of Apalachicola to the east which at one time, was a major port along the Gulf Coast.
 
Joined
Oct 24, 2019
Sir, the pluses that I see are as follows.

1. The Naval Yard
2. One more port for blockade runners to use.
3. One more port for Union blockaders to cover thereby spreading them thinner (at first)

Minuses

1. Manning required that could be used elsewhere
2. Perhaps the loss of the desperately needed rails that were ripped up from the Alabama & Florida (of Florida) RR - please see @DaveBrt 's http://www.csa-railroads.com/

Questions;
1. Does the Confederacy have the resources to benefit from the utility of the naval yard vs. the cost of defending it?
2. Does Pensacola provide anything Mobile doesn't?

Cheers,
USS ALASKA
This is a very good breakdown of the situation.
 
Joined
Oct 24, 2019
The blockading squadron in the Gulf was pretty well supplied out of Key West and Pensacola Bay would have been relatively easy to blockade early in the war in my opinion even had Confederate forces occupied Fort Pickens. Especially after the capture of Apalachicola to the east which at one time, was a major port along the Gulf Coast.
My hypothesis was that if Confederates controlled all three forts in the respective area that they would be able to defend the Navy Yard, even from some of the heavier blockading ships.
 
Joined
Oct 24, 2019
An attempt was made during the Battle of Santa Rosa Island in late 1861 to take Fort Pickens as Confederate forces already controlled Fort McRee, Fort Barrancas, and shore facilities at both Warrington and Pensacola.

I believe that had the attack been successful or had Slemmer simply surrendered the position in early 1861, that eventually the fort, along with Fort McRee, could have been taken by siege operations relatively early in the war. Santa Rosa Island, along with Perdido Key are long barrier islands that would afford an easy amphibious landing and such an operation would have been supported by naval forces outside the bar. A good example of such an operation would be the Siege of Fort Macon in North Carolina.
This is another very good point, Forts that tended to be isolated from the main land we're easy to wear down in a siege. I have a whole other post I want to do about that.
 

atlantis

Sergeant Major
Joined
Nov 12, 2016
Given the scant naval resources available to the CSA the Warrington yard was a much needed asset even with its limited capabilities. So taking Pickens would have been worth the expenditure of blood/treasure.
 

USS ALASKA

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Mar 16, 2016
Given the scant naval resources available to the CSA the Warrington yard was a much needed asset even with its limited capabilities. So taking Pickens would have been worth the expenditure of blood/treasure.

Sir, not that the physical plant itself wouldn't have some inherent value, but did the CSA have the surplus raw materials and skilled manpower to maximize the resource? A value above what it would have cost to defend it?

Cheers,
USS ALASKA
 

NFB22

Sergeant Major
Joined
Jun 21, 2012
Location
Louisville, KY
My hypothesis was that if Confederates controlled all three forts in the respective area that they would be able to defend the Navy Yard, even from some of the heavier blockading ships.

I think of the raid that resulted in the burning of the Judah by Marines and sailors from the USS Colorado. Even with control of Fort McRee and Fort Barrancas, Union forces were still able to slip into the bay and burn ships at their moorings and spike artillery.

How much manpower would the Confederates had needed to secure Pensacola Bay and how would they be logistically supported at the Navy Yard? They did control the yard from January 1861 to when they abandoned it in mid-1862 and really didn't have much to show for that time. Remember that it was a much newer and smaller facility when compared to larger ones along the Atlantic seaboard or other shipbuilding centers.

Additionally, had that all happened, how much would shipbuilding at Pensacola effect the war efforts? Remember the blockade that would have resulted and compare that to other ports.
 
Joined
Oct 24, 2019
I think of the raid that resulted in the burning of the Judah by Marines and sailors from the USS Colorado. Even with control of Fort McRee and Fort Barrancas, Union forces were still able to slip into the bay and burn ships at their moorings and spike artillery.

How much manpower would the Confederates had needed to secure Pensacola Bay and how would they be logistically supported at the Navy Yard? They did control the yard from January 1861 to when they abandoned it in mid-1862 and really didn't have much to show for that time. Remember that it was a much newer and smaller facility when compared to larger ones along the Atlantic seaboard or other shipbuilding centers.

Additionally, had that all happened, how much would shipbuilding at Pensacola effect the war efforts? Remember the blockade that would have resulted and compare that to other ports.
Very true, If it had been a greater priority they possibly would've treated it like one.
 

atlantis

Sergeant Major
Joined
Nov 12, 2016
Sir, not that the physical plant itself wouldn't have some inherent value, but did the CSA have the surplus raw materials and skilled manpower to maximize the resource? A value above what it would have cost to defend it?

Cheers,
USS ALASKA
Good tough question, It would have been difficult no question but you got to start trying to build a navy somewhere.
 

USS ALASKA

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Mar 16, 2016
Good tough question, It would have been difficult no question but you got to start trying to build a navy somewhere.

Indeed sir, but only if this localized action was value-added to the overall war effort. The CSN was never going to out-build the USN nor come up with a Wunderwaffe that the Union could not answer. Could those HDLD assets, (men and materials), be put to better use elsewhere? Would the juice be worth the squeeze?

Cheers,
USS ALASKA
 
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