War of the Rebellion: Serial 001 Page 0336 OPERATIONS IN FLORIDA. Chapter IV.

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center wharf of the yard. As I was not ready to receive the stores, the Supply remained at her anchor that night.

On the morning of the 11th I was informed by Captain Walke that he had received another order from Commodore Armstrong to deliver the stores and return to the navy-yard. Captain Berryman also told me that he expected to sail that evening or the next morning for the south side of Cuba. I immediately caused the following note to be addressed to the commodore by my acting adjutant, Lieutenant Gilman:

FORT PICKENS, FLA., January 11, 1861.

Commodore JAMES ARMSTRONG,

U. S. Navy:

SIR: I understand that it is your intention to withdraw from this fort the protection of the U. S. steamer Wyandotte and the storeship Supply, contrary to the agreement between you and myself day before yesterday. I again have the honor to state, as I did to you in presence of several officers at our last interview, that without the aid of those vessels it will be utterly impossible, in my opinion, for me to protect this harbor, and I shall therefore, in case this assistance is withdrawn, instantly relinquish all hope of defending the place, and report the state of affairs immediately by a messenger to Washington. I most respectfully request an immediate answer as to whether the assistant above referred to is to be withdrawn or not.

I am sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

(By order of A. J. Slemmer, First Artillery, U. S. Army, Commanding Fort Pickens:)

J. H. GILMAN,

Second Lieutenant, First Artillery, Acting Adjutant of the Post.

To which the commodore replied as follows:

COMMANDANT'S OFFICE, U. S. NAVY-YARD, PENSACOLA, Warrington, January 11, 1861.

Lieutenant A. J. SLEMMER,

U. S. Army, Commanding at Fort Pickens, Fla.:

SIR: In reply to your communication of this date, I have to state that the U. S. storeship Supply was sent to Fort Pickens by my order merely to convey the provisions you required and to return to this navy-yard. The Supply is not a vessel of war, and having been sent to this station on the special service of conveying stores and coal to Vera Cruz for the vessels of the home squadron stationed there, it is my duty to dispatch her to that port at the earliest moment practicable, in conformity with the orders I have received from the Navy Department, from which orders I cannot deviate further.

The steamer Wyandotte may be retained, for the purpose of co-operating with you, until further orders.

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

JAMES ARMSTRONG,

Commandant.

The Wyandotte and Supply remained at anchor under the fort that night. Captain Berryman sent me during the evening thirty muskets and bayonets to arm the ordinary seamen, which he had procured after some difficulty from the navy-yard. He also had for me some musket cartridges which were promised me from the yard, as my supply was limited.

On the morning of the 12th, Captain Walke, of the Supply, showed me a communication to him from the commodore, saying that the yard was besieged, and that when attacked the Supply must immediately proceed to Vera Cruz. I received no information from the yard whatever of the fact. I immediately addressed a note to the commodore, to this purport:

Commodore JAMES ARMSTRONG:

Commandant U. S. Navy-Yard, Warrington, Fla.:

SIR: I am informed that the navy-yard is besieged. In case you determine to capitulate, please send me the marines to strengthen my command.

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

A. J. SLEMMER,

First Lieutenant, First Artillery, Commanding Fort Pickens.