War of the Rebellion: Serial 001 Page 0432 OPERATIONS IN FLORIDA. Chapter IV.

Search Civil War Official Records

through is certain, for a large steamer was a few weeks since carried through it, and is now busily plying between Pensacola and the navy-yard. By reference to the map it will be seen that these vessels can lie in safety beyond the range of any guns the rebels can bring against them, supposing him to have a battery, which is doubtful, at Deer Point, by which if he has can be easily taken. It will also be seen that such an anchorage is opposite the narrowest part of the island, where the boats would be under the protection in some measure of the ships outside, and where the boats of ships can be easily hauled over and used in connection with the gunboats. The rebels have no floating force of consequence in the harbor. These vessels can therefore entirely command it and its tributaries, and entirely cut off the supplies be water of the rebel troops. By landing a sufficient force somewhere between this and the Perdido their position can be entirely invested. Six or eight boats would, I think, be sufficient, but they should be prepared so as to be ready and here in October, and the most profound secrecy as to their destination be observed; otherwise the enemy would destroy the eastern passage.

I make these suggestions rather to invite attention to the subject than as being well-digested views. There are many Army and Navy officers acquainted with the harbor who can give reliable and valuable information on the subject.

It may not be amiss in connection with this subject for me to say that I consider Fort McRee as assailable, and that with five hundred good troops more than I now have, and with the co-operation of the Navy, I am confident I could in a very few days reduce it.

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


Brevet Colonel, Commanding.


Fort Pickens, June 22, 1861.

COLONEL: Since my last dispatch I have received seven 42-pounder rifled guns, one of smaller caliber, and two 6-pounder rifled field guns, with a reasonable though insufficient supply of ammunition. We are now mounting some of these guns; have mounted two more sea-coast 10-inch mortars, and will in two or three days be ready to mount two more 10-inch columbiads and two of these rifled guns that I propose putting in batteries. After landing some powder now here and mounting the rest of these guns, I shall be prepared to defend this fort or to act offensively.

A negro deserter came to me a few days since who has been for several years employed by his master as a pilot of this harbor. He says that the rebels sank a dredging boat and a brig in the channel; that the former floated ashore and the latter is supposed to have gone to pieces, and that the dry-dock does not at all obstruct the channel, being sunk some twenty yards from it; that the rebels are building a large floating battery of very heavy timber, having prepared it at Pensacola and brought it down in pieces to the navy-yard, where it is now being put together; that the small-pox is raging among the rebel troops, and that great sickness prevails, three or four dying daily; that the rebels have a large hospital in Pensacola; that there is a detachment of troops, but no battery, at Deer Point; that they have been constantly engaged for some