Numbers 13. Report of Captain Matthew M. Blunt, Twelfth U. S. Infantry.
FORT PICKENS, FLA., November 25, 1861.
MAJOR: In compliance with orders from the colonel commanding I have the honor to submit to you the following report of the service of the battery under my charge during the 22nd and 23rd of this month:
The battery consist of one 13-inch and one 12-inch sea-coast mortar. Both mortars were ready on the morning of the 22nd, and at the signal gun opened fire on the steamboat at the navy-yard, at which a rapid discharged as soon as loaded. The majority of the shells then thrown went into the navy-yard, but on account of the very heavy fire in that direction (a large number of our guns and mortars firing at the steamboat at that time) I could not tell the effect of the shells thrown, but am confident that very few were lost by falling into the water. After firing at the steamboat for about three-quarters of an hour, my fire was directed, according t your orders, on Fort McRee, and was continued during the day at intervals of twenty minutes. Several shells went inside the fort and others near the batteries on either side of it. This fire was continued until sundown, when a sudden thunder-storm put a top to all firing. Early in the day the elevating screw began to bend, and by means of blocks and quoins the 13-inch mortar was kept at an elevation of about 40 deg., and was fired at that elevation during the afternoon, when the screw broke off entirely.
About 3 p. m. the legating screw of the 12-inch mortar broke off, and the mortar rested on the bolster, and was not used for the rest of the day. At 5 a. m. on the 23rd a party was set to work to arrange means for elevating the mortars, and by 7 a. m. everything was ready for action. During the 23rd our fire was directed entirely on the navy-yard, and, with the exception of the first shell, which busted at the edge of the water, all the others lodged within the yard, and several were observed to strike and enter the buildings in it. The fire was at an interval of half an hour and was continued until after sunset, and, having ceased for about an hour and a half, was renewed by your order, to prevent the enemy from putting out the fire, which, commencing int he village of Warrington, had then reached the vicinity of the yard. Our firing was continued until 11.30 p. m., when, the fire being well under way, I thought it useless to throw any more shells.
With respect to the conduct of the enlisted men under my command I can only speak well of all, as all did their duties promptly and efficiently. The service was of such a nature as not to call out any acts of daring or bravery, for though the enemy directed at last two mortars at us during the greater part o both days, the majority of the shells fell short or went to our right. Many of the columbiad shells intended for cur fort passed over it and burst in our vicinity.
I am, major, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
M. M. BLUNT,
Captain, Twelfth Infantry.
Major LEWIS G. ARNOLD,
First Artillery, U. S. Army, Commanding Batteries.