War of the Rebellion: Serial 001 Page 0378 OPERATIONS IN FLORIDA. Chapter IV.

Search Civil War Official Records

FORT PICKENS, FLA., April 16, 1861.

To the ASSISTANT ADJUTANT-GENERAL, Department of the East:

SIR: I have the honor to report that on the 14th instant it was reported to me that a small boat had landed at the wharf with a flag of truce, and that the bearer solicited an interview with the commanding officer of the post. I requested Lieutenant Slemmer, of the First Artillery, to accompany me, and repaired to the wharf. On my arrival the gentleman bearing the flag informed me that he was the bearer of a message from General Bragg, and that he was his adjutant-general. He then inquired whether I was the commanding officer of the fort. I replied that I was. He then stated that he was directed by General Bragg to inquire what the armistice in respect to re-enforcing Fort Pickens had been violated by throwing re-enforcements into it. I replied that I had never been a party to any armistice; that I had been sent by the general Government to take command of the post, and had entered under the orders of the General Government. He then addressed himself to Lieutenant Slemmer, and stated that he was directed to inquire of the former commanding officer why the armistice had been violated, to which Lieutenant Slemmer replied that he always obeyed the orders of his superiors. This ended our official interview. After exchanging the usual civilities customary among gentleman previously acquainted, we parted, and Colonel Wood left the post. I would mention that Lieutenant Ingraham, formerly of the Marine corps, was present during the interview as a witness on the part of Colonel Wood, and that Lieutenant Slemmer, at my request, performed the same duty on my part.

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


Captain, First Artillery, Commanding Fort Pickens.


Fort Pickens, April 18, 1861.

Lieutenant Colonel E. D. KEYES,

Secretary to the General-in-Chief, Washington, D. C.:

COLONEL: We arrived off this place on the evening of the 17th instant, having encountered a heavy norther on the passage from Tortugas. I immediately sought and obtained an interview with Captain Adams, commanding the naval forces here, who promised me every assistance in his power, and boats to land my command. I decided to land with a part of my force without delay, and while preparing to land, signal rockets from Fort Pickens, indicating an expected attack hastened our departure. I got in the fort at 2 o'clock yesterday morning with the Sappers and Miners and a part of Clitz's company. Our arrival probably prevented the contemplated attack. I found in the fort, besides the two companies of artillery, a detachment of one hundred marines and sailors. The greater portion of them I have sent back to the ships. In the course of yesterday and to-day all the troops and horses have landed, and a very small portion of stores, the landing of which in the surf is a slow operation.

In going over the fort and examining its condition, the miserable state of its armament, the small supply of ammunition and stores, I am almost discouraged at the task before me. The mounted guns are few in number-two 10-inch shell guns, four 8-inch howitzers, seventeen 32-pounders,