two reliefs for duty. They mount guard every other day. All the caseate flank-defense guns are in good order and serviceable. In barbette I have on the land approach nearly all the guns mounted and available. I have now more guns shorted than with my command in case of an attack I could use. There are no preparations now which look to an attack on the fort that I am aware of. Scaling ladders were prepared some time since in the navy-yard, and aero now ready for any emergency. Sand batteries were in progress of erection immediately opposite, but I think more to keep the volunteers employed than for effective service. The distance is too great for breaching batteries unless heavy and rifled cannon were used, of which they have none now available. Shells could, however, be thrown into the fort from these batteries. The fort can be attacked on all sides by storming parties landing from the other side in boats under cove of the night, and with a small force it would be almost impossible to prevent its being taken.
Under present orders the vessels of the Navy ordered here could, in case of an assault, render me little or no assistance, as before they could land their forces the fort would be taken.
Numbers 4. Reports of Captain John M. Brannan, First U. S. Artillery, in reference to occupation of Fort Taylor, Key West.
FORT TAYLOR, KEY WEST, FLA., January 14, 1861.
SIR: I have the honor to report that in consequence of the recent seizure by unauthorized persons of several forts and arsenals in the Southern States, I have placed my entire command in Fort Taylor for the purpose of protecting it. I shall, until orders from the General Government to the contrary, defend it to the best of my ability with the scanty force (forty-four men) at my disposal . I inclose a copy of a communication I addressed direct to the Adjutant-General on December 11, 186-0, to which I received no reply; also a copy of a letter from Captain E. B. Hunt, Corps of Engineers, in charge of Fort Taylor. As mail facilities have entirely ceased between Key West and the North, I would suggest that any orders for me be forwarded from New York City, via Havana, to the care of the American consul.
I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
J. M. BRANNAN,
Captain, First Artillery, Commanding.
Lieutenant Colonel L. THOMAS,
Asst. Adjt., General, Headquarters of the Army, Washington, D. C.
[Inclosure Numbers 1.]
KEY WEST BARRACKS, FLA., December 11, 1860.
SIR: The present condition of affairs in this State indicates very clearly that Florida, by the act of her people, will secede from the Federal Government. I have reliable information that as soon as the act is committed and attempt will be made to seize upon Fort Taylor. I therefore request instructions what I am to do-endeavor at all hazards