by him, Lieutenant Slemmer on the 12th, being convinced that an attack was imminent, called upon Captain Adams to land the troops, and it was done that night.
Major Tower, Engineers, thought that this landing and very stormy weather had deferred the attack. But commotion on shore and movements visible from the fort led them to believe that an attack would be made immediately after the arrival of the Atlantic, and therefore the signal was sent up.
The ditches of the Barrancas were lighted up and much hurrahing was heard.
While the boats were collecting on the Atlantic, Colonel Brown and his staff, taking a boat of the frigate Sabine, under Lieutenant Belknap, of the vessel, pulled into the mouth of the harbor, and we landed on the beach between Forts McRee and Pickens. Passing many sentinels and patrols, we entered Fort Pickens by the north gate, and were gladly welcomed by Captain Vogdes and his officers, who assured us that five thousand men might be expected on shore in a short time.
I returned in the Sabine's boat to direct the landing of all the men who could be got ashore during the night.
On our way to the Atlantic we met the fleet of boats, and which landed as intended, and put our two hundred men into the fort within a few hours after our arrival.
The night passed of quietly, and the next morning early al the rest of the command, with the exception of the carpenters and laborers and Captain Barry's artillery company, retained to attend to their horses, were landed on the beach and marched into the fort.
I landed that morning, with Captain Barry and a covering party of men, about five miles from Fort Pickens and reconnoitered the island, determined upon a satiable place for landing the horses and for an entrenched camp out of range of the heaviest artillery on the mainland, and at a point beyond which a boat canal may easily be cut across the island.
During the day and night of the 17th and the morning of the 18th the horses were got ashore. One was drowned alongside by some mismanagement, one got loose, swam twice around the ship before the was caught, and died from exhaustion after landing, and one, turned head over heels by the surf, broke his neck. Four had died and been thrown overboard in he boisterous passage, so that seven out of seventy-three were lost. The rest landed safely, and were at once set to work to haul into the fort the immense stores brought with the expedition.
On the morning of the 17th, while engaged in landing the horses, the Powhatan, which we had passed without seeing her during the voyage, hove in sight. A note from Colonel Brown advised me that in his opinion her entrance into the harbor at that time would bring on a collision, which it was very important to defer until our stores, guns, and ammunition were disposed of.
As the enemy did not seem inclined yet to molest us; as with 600 troops in the fort and three war steamers anchored close inshore there was no danger of a successful attempt at a landing by the enemy, it was evident that it was important to prevent a collision, and her entrance would have uselessly exposed a gallant officer and a devoted crew to extreme dangers.
The circumstances had changed since Captain Porter's orders had been issued by the President. Knowing the imperative nature of these orders and the character of him who bore them, I feared that it would not be possible to arrest his course; but requesting the commander of