War of the Rebellion: Serial 006 Page 0660 OPERATIONS IN W. FLA., S. ALA., S. MISS., AND LA. Chapter XVI.

Search Civil War Original Records

Numbers 2. Reports of Colonel 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, navyyard, and position at and near Pensacola, Fla.:

On being placed in command of that place by Brigadier General Samuel Jones, March 9 last, his instructions were to move, as fast as my transportation would allow, the machinery and other valuable property from the navyyard. This was kept up steadily until the night of the evacuation.

On receiving information that the enemy's bunboats had succeeded in passing the forts below New Orleans with their powerful batteries and splendid equipments, I came to the conclusion that, with my limited means of defense, reduced as I have been by the withdrawal of nearly all my heavy guns and ammunition, I could not hold them in check or make even a respectable show of resistance, I therefore determined, upon my own judgment, to commence immediately the removal of the balance of my heavy guns and their ammunition, and dispatched to you for your approval, which was answered by one advising me to continue doing so. On receipt of General Lee's written instructions on the subject I pushed on the work with renewed vigor, and night and day kept up the removal of guns and valuable property.

On the afternoon of the 7th instant I received a dispatch from your adjutant-general stating that there were a number of mortar and bunboats off Fort Morgan, and that the fort had fired ten shots at them. Conceiving that the contingency named in General Lee's instructions had arrived, viz, to bring all my available force to this point in the event of an attack, I concluded to promptly leave my position. I therefore sent to Montgomery a regiment ot unarmed troops.

On the next day I ordered the Eight Mississippi Regiment, Lieutenant-Colonel Yates commanding, to proceed at once to this place and report to you, and on the 9th I prepared my plans for generally evacuating.

On the night of the 8th three companies of cavalry arrived from Montgomery. With these and two companies I already had I determined to destroy the public property, &c., which I had not been able to remove, and which might prove of benefit to the enemy. As the few troops were so disposed that any reduction in the day-time would attract the notice of the enemy, I merely withdrew the camp and garrison equipage and sick, in accordance with an order from General Lee, to keep the army mobilized.

On the morning of the 9th, all the work of removing sick and baggage having been completed, I published orders that my forces should present themselves to the best advantage to the enemy, and as soon as it was dark they were quietly, marched out of their camps and started on the road to Oakfield. Sentinels were posted as usual on the beach, and they were withdrawn one hour after troops had left. All these instructions were obeyed to the letter, and much to the credit of the comparatively raw under my command.

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 every.