THE military works were in charge of Lieutenant Adam Slemmer, and the naval establishment was under Commodore Armstrong. Slemmer was informed that an attempt to seize the military works would be made as soon as the Florida politicians should declare the secession of that State; and he took measures accordingly. Perceiving it to be impossible to hold all the works with his small garrison, he, like Major Anderson, abandoned the weaker ones and transferred his people and supplies to the stronger Fort Pickens. That was on the 10th of January, 1861, the day on which the Florida Convention passed the Ordinance of Secession. On the same morning, about five hundred insurgents of Florida, Alabama, and Mississippi appeared at the gate of the navy-yard and demanded its surrender. Armstrong was powerless, for three-fourths of the sixty officers under his command were disloyal. Commander Farrand was actually among the insurgents who demanded the surrender, and Flag-Officer Renshaw immediately ordered the National standard to be pulled down. The post, with ordnance stores valued at $156,000, passed into the hands of the authorities of Florida; and Forts Barrancas and McRee were taken possession of by the insurgents.
Lieutenant Slemmer, deprived of the promised aid of the naval establishment, was now left to his own resources. The fort was one of the strongest on the Gulf Coast. There were fifty-four guns in position, and provisions for five months within it; but the garrison consisted of only eighty-one officers and men.
Two days after the seizure of the navy-yard near Pensacola, a demand was made by insurgent leaders for the surrender of Fort Pickens. Lieutenant Slemmer refused compliance. Three days later (January 15) Colonel W. H. Chase of Massachusetts, who was in command of all the insurgents in that region, obtained an interview with Slemmer, and tried to persuade him to "avoid bloodshed" by quietly surrendering the fort, saying in conclusion: "Consider this well, and take care that you will so act as to have no fearful recollections of a tragedy that you might have avoided; but rather to make the present moment one of the most glorious, because Christian-like, of your life." The wily serpent could not seduce the patriot, and Slemmer did make that a glorious moment of his life by refusing to give up the fort. On the 18th, another demand was made for the surrender of the fort and refused, and a siege of that stronghold was begun.
The number of insurgents at Pensacola rapidly increased, and the new Administration resolved to send relief to Fort Pickens. A small squadron was dispatched from New York for the purpose; and Lieutenant J. L. Worden of the navy was sent overland to Pensacola, with orders to Captain Adams, in command of some vessels off Fort Pickens, to throw reinforcements into that work immediately. Worden reached Pensacola on the 10th of April, where Colonel Braxton Bragg was in chief command of the Confederates. He had observed great excitement and preparations for war on his journey, and fearing arrest, Worden had made himself well acquainted with the contents of the despatches, and then tore them up. He frankly told Bragg that he was sent by his Government with orders to Captain Adams, and that they were not written, but oral. That officer gave the lieutenant a pass for his destination. His message was timely delivered, for Bragg was