War of the Rebellion: Serial 001 Page 0329 Chapter III. REPORTS, ETC.

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Numbers 5. Report of Lieutenant Frederick E. Prime, U. S. Corps of Engineers, of the seizure of fort on Ship Island, Miss.

BILOXI, MISS., January 30, 1861.

SIR: I have the honor to report that the works at Ship Island were visited by an armed body of men on the forenoon of the 13th instant. They stated to the overseer that their object was to take possession of the works, and, also, that they were acting on their own responsibility. After a short stay on the island, they left without interfering in any way with the work. On the afternoon of the same day another party, also armed, landed at Ship Island; their statement to the overseer was the same as that made by the first party. As flag was hoisted previous to their departure that evening. The men were left on the island, who occupied a vacant engineer building. As no interference was attempted on their part, operations were continued, so as to close the works as rapidly as possible. On the morning of the 20th instant, a third armed body of men took forcible possession of the works and engineer property at Ship Island. From that moment I considered myself relieved from all connection with those works. The forcible seizure on the 18th instant of the works and engineer property on east end of Dauphin Island (reported to the Department by Lieutenant Reese) has, in like manner, relieved me from all responsibility respecting Fort Gaines. The forcible occupation of Fort Morgan and my arrest at Pensacola have, I consider, relieved me from all connection with my other works, unless it be Fort Pickens, now garrisoned by the line of the Army. My duties are thus restricted to the settlement of outstanding liabilities against the works formerly in my charge. Should the Department, however, consider that I have, or may have hereafter, other duties to discharge with respect to these works, I would respectfully request that I be furnished with instructions to that effect.

I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,


First Lieutenant, Engineers.

Bvt. Brigadier General J. G. TOTTEN,

Chief of Engineers.

Captain H. G. WRIGHT:

DEAR CAPTAIN: Dame Rumor says all the expeditions to capture Ship Island have been made without any authority from the governor, and have not as yet received his sanction.

F. E. P.

Numbers 6. Report of Lieutenant C. B. Ressee, U. S. Corps of Engineers, of the formal occupation of Fort Gaines by State troops.

MOBILE, ALA., January 19, 1861.

SIR: I have to state that Fort Gaines was formally taken possession of in name of the State of Alabama yesterday. I was about to send all the hands off on a steamer chartered for the purpose; some provisions, &c., were also to [be] taken to Mobile and sold. Colonel Todd, of the State militia, arrived there in a small boat with four or five officers, at about