War of the Rebellion: Serial 006 Page 0491 Chapter XVI. BOMBARDMENT AT PENSACOLA, FLA.

Search Civil War Official Records

the enemy's fire, it was proposed to blow it up and abandon it. Upon mature reflection as to the effect this would have on the morale of my own troops as well as the enemy, I determined to hold it to the last extremity. An engineer officer and large working party were dispatched to Colonel Villepigue with this decision. Though suffering from a painful wound, he devoted the entire night to the necessary repairs. It was not our policy to keep up this unequal contest at long range, so we awaited the enemy's fire the next morning.

At about 10.30 he again opened, though much more slowly, and with only one ship. We responded, as before, with caution and deliberation. Their fire was so much lacunate that our apprehension about McRee was greatly received, and our sand batteries played with a better prospect of success against the remaining ship. Towards evening the enemy, finding all his efforts foiled, that our guns were not silenced, and McRee not reduced, a he had predicted, turned upon the hospital, and put several shot into the empty building (the sick having all been removed in anticipation of this barbarous act). The evacuation, however, was not known to them. All the appearance of occupation was kept up; the yellow flag was till flying. After this he poured hot shot had shell into the empty dwellings of non-combatants in the villages of Warrington and Woolsey, by which considerable portions of each were burned. The navy-yard, too, received a large supply of these shot and a shower of mortar shells until past midnight, but only one unimportant building was fired, though many houses were struck and move or less damaged. Notwithstanding thousands of shot and shell fell in and around our positions, not a casualty occurred in the whole army for the day. Our fire ceased at dark, except an occasional shell, as a warning that we were on the alert, the last shot being ours, about 4 a. m., on the 24th.

We had fired about 1,000 shots, the enemy not less than 5,000. There are no means of knowing or conjecturing the loss or damage inflicted on them, but we believed it to have been very considerable. They certainly did not accomplish the object they had in view nor fulfill the expectations of their Government. The injury to our side was the loss in killed and wounded given above; a few hundred dollars' damage done the navy-yard; the burning of two churches surmounted by the Holy Cross-the first building fired-and some, twenty humble habitations of poor laboring men and women, mostly emigrants from the North; and, finally, a violation of our hospital flag, in accordance with a previous threat. This last act stamps its author with infantry, and places him beyond the pale of civilized commanders.

As they did not renew the action, and drew off with their ships in a crippled condition, our fire was not reopened on Fort Pickens, to damage which is not our object. A fair challenge, however, was offered them on the 27th, when a small row-boat, attempting to enter the harbor, was fired on by us and abandoned by them. Several of our shot necessarily passed very near their works, but they declined our invitation.

The reports of the brigade and regimental commanders and the chief of artillery are inclosed, with a tabular statement of killed and wounded. I can cordially indorse all tha this said by them in commendation of the troops generally, and specially of the individuals mentioned. My thanks are particularly due Brigadier Gens. R. H. Anderson and A. H. Gladden for the able support given me throughout the engagement. It fell to the lot of he latter to have much the largest number of guns engaged, and in consequence a great sphere of usefulness. The efficiency of the batteries shows the labor and care which have been bestowed,