thing was perfectly quiet, both on the enemy's side and ours, the most painful duty it ever fell to my lot to perform was accomplished, namely, the signalizing for the destruction of the beautiful place which I had labored so hard nigh and day for over two months to defend, and which I had fondly hoped could be held from the polluting grasp of our insatiate enemies. The two blue-lights set off by Colonel Tattnall and myself at the hospital were promptly answered by similar signals from the other points designated, and scarcely had the signals disappeared ere the public buildings, camp tents, and every other combustible thing from the navy-yard to Fort McRee were enveloped in a sheet of flames, and in a few moments the flames of the public property could be distinctly seen at Pensacola. The custom-house and commissary store-house were not destroyed for fear of endangering private property, a thing I scrupulously avoided.
As soon as the enemy could possibly man their guns and load them, they opened upon us with the greatest fury, and seemed to increase his charges as his anger increased. But in spite of bursting shell, which were thrown with great rapidly and in every direction, the cavalry proceeded with the greatest coolness to make the work of destruction thorough and complete, and see that all orders were implicitly obeyed. Their orders were to destroy all camp tents, Forts McRee and Barrancas, as far as possible, the hospital, the houses in the navy-yard, the steamer Fulton, the coal left in the yard, all the machinery for drawing out ships, the trays, shears-in fact everything which could be made useful to the enemy. The large piles of coal were filled with wood and other combustibles and loaded shells put all through it, so that when once on fire the enemy would not dare to attempt to extinguish, it. Loaded shell were also placed in the houses for the same purpose, and the few small smooth-bore guns I was compelled to leave were doubleshotted, wedged, and spiked, and carriage-chassis burned. The shears in the navy-yard were cut half in two, and the spars and masts of the Fulton were cut to pieces.
By the most unremitting labor I succeeded, with my little force and limited transportation, in saving all the heavy guns and nearly all the small-sized guns. I took away all the flanking howitzers from Barrancas and the redoubt.
In removing the large columbiads, from the batteries which were in full view of the enemy, I was compelled to resort to General Johnston's plan of replacing them with wooden imitations as they were removed. All of the powder and most of the large shot and shell were removed; the small-sized shot were buried. I succeeded in getting away all the most valuable machinery, besides large, quantities of copper, lead, brass,s and iron; even the gutters, lightning-rods, window weights, bells, pipes, and everything made of these valuable metals were removed; also cordage, blocks, cables, chain cables, and a large number of very valuable articles of this character which I cannot here enumerate.
All the quartermaster and commissary stores, except such as were not worth the transportation, were sent away. As soon as this was completed I set hands to work taking up the railroad iron at Pensacola and others to reeling up the telegraph wires, under the protection of a strong guard of cavalry, infantry, and one place of light artillery. Having received orders not to destroy any private property, I only destroyed at Pensacola a large oil factory, containing a considerable quantity of resin, the quartermaster's store-houses, some small boats, and three small steamers used as guard transports. The steamers Mary and Helen were the only private property of their kind burned.