would mention that all of the troops will be compelled to live in open casemages, and many of them will soon be on the sick-list.
The seceders have a considerable force in and about Pensacola; what number I am unable to say positively, but they are estimated at about 1,700 men. They are disorderly, and very unwilling to be controlled. Their leaders, from what I can learn, I believe are sincere in their intention to observe the armistice, but their ability to control the men under their command is very doubtful. They are engaged in erecting batteries, are making sand bags, &c. They have plenty of means of transportation their troops to Saint Rosa Island, and can attack the fort on all sides at once. At present there is not one trained man to a gun within the fort. Should the enemy decide to attack, it is exceedingly probable that he might succeed in penetrating into the fort before my company could be landed or any succor could arrive from the fleet. I should therefore urge upon the Department the necessity of the fleet taking up a position such as to prevent the landing of any forces within one and a half miles of the fort; this would give time to provide for the defense of the work and the landing of the troops from the fleet; otherwise we may have the mortification and disgrace of seeing the fort taken by a body of untrained troops under our very noses.
Should the armistice be broken, my company, all the marines, and as many sailors as may raise the garrison to four hundred men should be immediately landed. All of the advantages of the present armistice are entirely on the side of the seceders. I would therefore urge upon the Department the necessity of immediately re-enforcing the garrison. The two additional companies ordered to Forts Taylor and Jefferson are not immediately required for the defense of those works. In fact, in their present state, and with the forces now in them, they would be stronger than Fort Pickens will be when garrisoned with four hundred men. Captain Meigs kindly offered his services, if necessary, to assist in the defense of this place, and I request the Department that he may be ordered to repair to this place.
Lieutenant Slemmer has done all that it has been possible to do with the small force under his command. His resolution to defend his post at all hazards evinces the highest moral courage on his part, but at the same time I must state that with any amount of vigor on the part of the assaulters his defense would have been hopeless. His resolution has probably been the means of preserving Fort Pickens from the seceders.
Captain, First Artillery.
P. S.-I must not be understood as recommending any violation of the existing armistice, but the collection of an amount of troops on the station as may be necessary for the defense should anything occur to rupture the present armistice.
FORT PICKENS, FLA., February --, 1861.
Honorable J. HOLDT, Secretary of War:
SIR: I have to report that since my last letter per Captain Sands, U. S. Navy, matters have assumed no different form. I am continuing the defenses of the fort, ad with my command will soon have it prepared to repel an attack. I have now seventy-eight guns mounted and ready