HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF FLORIDA,
Fort Pickens, May 8, 1861.
Captain H. A. ADAMS, Commanding Naval Forces off Pensacola:
CAPTAIN: I deem it my duty to call your attention to the importance to the defense of this fort of excluding all steamers from the harbor. Their introduction would be of essential injury to us and benefit to the enemy, so that every possible precaution should, I think, be used to prevent it. I think that under no circumstances should a steamer or a vessel loaded with forage or provisions or articles contraband of war be permitted to enter. All those articles are for the consumption of the army of the enemy, and we, by permitting their introduction, are really feeding our enemies, and giving them the means of assailing us. We have information, which, though not official, is authentic, that our steamers have been seized and appropriated by the enemy; that he has issued letter of marque, and its fitting out privateers, and that our officers have been taken prisoners, our property stolen, and that one of your own officers is now a prisoner in his hands. Under these circumstances, should not effective measures be taken to stop all vessels? I certainly think so. Permit me to suggest that the passage at the north of the island and the landing of the Perdido should be strictly watched, and that every possible exertion should be used to prevent the introduction of supplies of any and every kind.
I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
U. S. FORCES SABINE,
Off Pensacola, May 8, 1861.
Colonel HARVEY BROWN, U. S. Army, Fort Pickens:
COLONEL: I have given orders to the guard-vessels to allow no provisions to enter Pensacola Harbor. In the absence of all instructions with regard to the blockade, I do not know how to proceed towards foreign ships, which by the laws and customs of nations are usually allowed a certain time to come and go after the declaration of a blockade, nor towards those coasting vessels which exhibit a license from the U. S. Government. My doubts on this subject prevented me from making prizes of the two steamers detained last night, which had cargoes of provisions consigned to Judah & Le Baron. I have sent them back to Mobile. The President's proclamation of blockade is dated April 19, and it is more than time some specific directions about it should have reached me here. Should I hear of any privateers, man-of-war, or letter of marque being at sea, under the secession flag, I intend to commence making captures immediately. But I shall be greatly embarrassed what to do with them, as I have no officers to put on board and carry them to a port of the United States for adjudication. Has any progress been made in the preparation of a battery to receive the Brooklyn's 9-inch guns, if it should be thought advisable to land them? I am afraid the work of discharging the Philadelphia will go on but slowly, as the large boats of the Powhatan have been so much injured as to require extensive repairs, and those of the Brooklyn will be employed for a few days in ballasting the Supply.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
H. A. ADAMS,
Captain, Senior Officer Present.