A writer in the Mobile Register
has a novel plan for capturing Fort Pickens
He says:--“It is well known that there are some chemicals so poisonous that an Atmosphere impregnated with them makes it impossible to remain where they are, as they would destroy life, or interfere so much with respiration as to make fresh air indispensable.
That the whole atmosphere of Fort Pickens
can be so impregnated in a short time, can be shown to be by no means chimerical; and not only chimerical, but easily effected.
It will not cost so much as to be impracticable, and may cost infinitely less than a regular siege, not only in money, but life.
Everybody almost knows that burning red pepper, even in small quantity, a teaspoonful, will clear the largest room of a crowd in a few moments; that the least snuff of veratria will make one cough himself almost to death, and run great risk of coughing himself into consumption; that some gases are so poisonous to life that the smallest quantity will kill — hydroceanic acid and arsemurretted hydrogen, for instance.
By mixing red pepper and veratria with the powder with which the shells are filled, or by filling large shells of extraordinary capacity with poisonous gases, and throwing them very rapidly into the fort, every living soul would have to leave in double quick time; it would
be impossible to breathe there.
If the bombardment is effected in a dead calm, the result would be certain; and often at Fort Pickens
there is not a breath of air stirring from daylight until 10 o'clock in the morning.” --National Intelligencer, May 29