Washington, May 22, 1861.
J. J. ASTOR:
DEAR SIR: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 21st instant, and in reply beg leave to say that this Department can give no such authority as is therein asked for, and does not desire any cannon forwarded to Fort Pickens by the Union Defense Committee. If any are needed there this Department will be duly informed of it be the officer in command, whose duty it is to inform it, and whose judgment and wishes on the subject will be deemed sufficient to command its prompt attention through the agency of its own proper officers assigned by law for such purposes. The Union Committee will, therefore, please forward no ordnance to Fort Pickens.
I am, sir, very respectfully,
Secretary of War.
HDQRS. DEPARTMENT OF FLORIDA,
Fort Pickens, May 22, 1861.
A council of war will meet at the quarters of the commanding officer at 11 1/2 o'clock a. m. to-day. The following officers will compose the council, viz:
Bvt. Lieutenant Colonel Horace Brooks, Second Artillery.
Captain Rufus Ingalls, Quartermaster's Department.
Captain William F. Barry, Second Artillery.
Bvt. Major Henry J. Hunt, Second Artillery.
Captain harvey A. Allen, Second Artillery.
Bvt. Major Zealous B. Tower, Engineers.
Captain Henry F. Clarke, Subsistence Department.
Captain Henry B. Clitz, Third Infantry.
First Lieutenant T. Balch, Ordnance.
Captain George L. Hartsuff, assistant adjutant-general, will record the proceeding.
By order of Colonel Brown:
GEO. L. HARTSUFF,
FORT PICKENS, May 25, 1861.
Colonel H. BROWN, Commanding Department of Florida:
SIR: It is my opinion that Fort Pickens cannot be successfully defended against the enemy's forces now arrayed against us unless a sufficient number of the steamships aid your command to prevent any landing upon Santa Rosa Island. If the enemy once establish themselves on this island in the absence of a powerful steam fleet, they can in a few days build batteries to prevent ships from approaching this end of the island, and rapidly advance and reduce this work by a short siege. The heavy fire upon the flank and rear of our land fronts will prevent us from making a strong resistance if it does not dismount nearly all our guns. Two curtains of our land fronts have no guns upon them, and the flank guns are seen in reverse. The Navy must hold the island until re-enforcements arrive, or our nation must suffer another disgrace in the loss of Fort Pickens. Circumstances have much changed during