side have little efficiency left to them. The masonry on that party 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 for 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 there 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 a 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 envious 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.