To which I received no reply. Several hours after this the United States flag was lowered from the navy-yard. The Supply was towed outside by the Wyandotte, and both vessels remained anchored at a distance of about five miles. That night Captain Berryman told me that his orders of the previous evening were to co-operate with me, but especially that he must not fire a gun unless his vessel was attacked. He could offer me no assistance in case I were assaulted. Left thus entirely to depend on ourselves for defense-eighty-one men, including officers--active preparations were made for flank defense, the guns being loaded with grape and canister, and the embrasures closed as well as possible.
On my arrival I found that there was not a single embrasure shutter in the fort. I caused some to be constructed, and others to be taken from Fort McRee to supply the deficiency. Just after retreat four gentlemen (three in military clothing) presented themselves at the gate, and demanded admittance as citizens of Florida and Alabama. They were told that by order no person was permitted to enter the fort. They then asked to see the commanding officer. I immediately went to the gate, accompanied by Lieutenant Gilman. Mr. Abert, engineer of the yard, presented Captain Randolph, Major Marks, and Lieutenant Rutledge. After a pause, Captain Randolph said, "We have been sent to demand a peaceable surrender of this fort by the governors of Florida and Alabama." To which I replied that I was here under the orders of the President of the United States, and by direction of the General-in-Chief of the Army; that I recognized no right of any governor to demand a surrender of United States property; that my orders were distance and explicit. They immediately withdrew.
At 12 o'clock at night the men were paraded and told off to the different batteries in anticipation of an attack, slow-march lighted, with lanyards and port fires in hand ready to fire. No signs of an attack; night very dark and rainy. We still labored on the 13th strengthening our position, and at the guns as on the night previous. Night very dark and rainy. On the night of the 13th a body of some ten men were discovered evidently reconnoitering. A shot was fired by them, which was returned by the sergeant. They then retreated . Nothing more could be seen of the party that night. On the 14th nothing of interest transpired. Men by this time almost worn out with labor, standing guard, and at the batteries day and night, for we anticipated an attack at any moment.
On the 15th Colonel Chase, commanding the forces of Florida, accompanied by Commander Farrand, late of the U. S. Navy, asked for a consultation, at which Colonel Chase read me the following letter:
HEADQUARTERS PENSACOLA DISTRICT, January 15, 1861.
Lieutenant A. J. SLEMMER,
U. S. Army, Commanding Fort Pickens, Harbor of Pensacola:
SIR: I have full powers from the governor of Florida to take possession of the forts and navy-yard, &c., &c., in this habor. I desire to perform this duty without the effusion of blood. You can contribute toward this desirable result, and, in my judgement, without sacrifice of the honor of yourself or your gallant officers and men. Now, as commissioner on the part of the governor of the State of Florida, I request the surrender of Fort Pickens and the public property it contains into my hands, to be held subject to any agreement that may be entered into between the commissioners of the State of Florida and the Federal Government at Washington. I would not counsel you to do aught that was dishonorable; on the contrary, to do that which will secure for you the commendation of all Christian gentlemen; and if you refuse and hold out, for whom do you consent that blood shall flow-the blood of brethren? Certainly not for the deadly enemies to the assaulters, for they are not such, but brethren of the same race. If the Union now broken should be reconstructed Fort Pickens and all the
22 R R