War of the Rebellion: Serial 001 Page 0334 OPERATIONS IN FLORIDA. Chapter IV.

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Barrancas in charge. There are no accommodations for troops in the fort. Fort Pickens (unoccupied) commands the harbor, and should that work be taken possession of, our position would be useless as far as any protection to the harbor goes. Please furnish me with orders for my direction in the case before me. I have already telegraphed to the same effect.

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


First Lieutenant, First Artillery, Commanding.

Colonel S. COOPER,

Adjutant-General U. S. Army.

FORT PICKENS, FLA., January 10, 1861.

SIR: I have the honor to report that on this date, I removed my command from Barranckas, Fla., to Fort Pickens, under special instructions received the previous day from the General-in-Chief.

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


First Lieutenant, First Artillery, Commanding Post.

Colonel S. COOPER,

Adjutant-General, U. S. Army.

FORT PICKENS, FLA., February 5, 1861.

SIR: Having heard rumors that the forts and other public property in Pensacola Harbor were to be seized by troops under the orders of the governor of Florida, and having been advised of the seizure of the forts in Mobile Bay, I deemed it proper, having received no instructions from Washington, to endeavor to prevent, by all the means in my power, a like seizure here.

On the morning of the 7th ultimo, accompanied by Lieutenant Gilman, I called upon the commander of the navy-yard, Commodore Armstrong, to consult with him in reference to some plan to be adopted to insure the safety of the public property. We had a similar consultation on the evening of the same day and on the morning of the 8th. The commodore, in the absence of any orders, deemed it inexpedient to co-operate with us.

On the morning of the 8th I removed all the powder from the magazine in the Spanish battery of Fort Barrancas to the inner magazines, because, from its exposed position, it was liable to seizure at any moment. I also caused all the batteries to be put in working order, and at night placed a sergeant's guards in the fort with the drawbridge raised. That night a body of men (about went in number) came to the fort with the evident intention of taking possession. The corporal of the guard caused the alarm to be given, upon which the assailants retreated precipitately. The guard was immediately strengthened by half the company, but nothing further occurred that night.

On the morning of the 9th I received through the mail a letter, of which the following is a copy:

HEADQUARTERS OF THE ARMY, Washington, January 3, 1861.

First Lieutenant A. J. SLEMMER,

First Artillery, or Commanding Officer Barrancas Barracks, Fla.:

SIR: The General-in-Chief directs that you take measures to do the utmost in your power to prevent the seizure of either of the first in Pensacola Harbor by surprise or assault, consulting first with the commander of the navy-yard, who will probably have received instructions to co-operate with you.

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


Lieutenant-Colonel, A. D. C.