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[49] and the truth flashed upon their minds as the guns — left loaded and spiked in the forts and batteries, heated by the flames — went off one after another, keeping up a brisk cannonade along the entire line of defence. By the light of the conflagration the rebels were seen running along the beach, carrying torches, with which they were firing everything that fell in their way — barracks, officers' quarters, wharves, the buildings in the Navy-Yard, and the frame of the ship Fulton, on the stocks.

The facts being reported to Gen. Arnold, the commander of Fort Pickens, he immediately ordered the beat of the “long roll,” and opened a tremendous cannonade from the barbette-guns and the water-batteries above the Fort, for the purpose of compelling the rebels to abandon their work of destruction and hasten the evacuation of the place. The firing was kept up five hours with the desired effect. The enemy were driven from the fortifications, and in their haste to escape, abandoned and left standing their camp, near the house of Gen. Chase, between the Light-house and Barrancas. Their tents and a large amount of equipments were secured. By this prompt and decisive action of Gen. Arnold the designs of the traitors were in a measure frustrated, and the result of the conflagration was not so disastrous as from its magnitude was at first apprehended.

Soon as the rebels had been dispersed, Gen. Arnold sent an officer to the blockading schooner Maria J. Wood, then lying off Fort Pickens, requesting the commander to come into the bay, which he did, being the first vessel that has passed under the guns of McRae and Barrancas for twelve months. The schooner proceeded up to the city of Pensacola, taking Capt. R. H. Jackson, aid-de-camp to General Arnold, and A. A. General, who was charged with a demand for the unconditional surrender of the place. He landed, and was met by about one hundred and fifty people, and who, with one single exception, manifested unbounded joy at the arrival of a representative of the United States authority. He found the wharves in flames, and directed the people to extinguish them. They promptly responded to his request — the negroes emulating the example of the white people, and chanting: “Dey have come at last, Dey have come at last.” Capt. Jackson proceeded to the house of Mayor Bobee, discovering as he went that the town appeared deserted, grass growing in the streets, and everything wearing a sad and forsaken appearance.

Upon the appearance of the Mayor, he made the demand for an unconditional surrender of the town and its defences; to which demand the Mayor said he complied to the extent of his authority, and added: “The confederates had so long held sway there, and usurped the power which rightfully belonged to the municipal authorities, that he did not know really how much authority he had left.” On returning to his vessel, Capt. Jackson was told that the confederates had attempted to excite the fears of the people by telling them: “As soon as the Yankees came they would be let loose upon them to outrage their women, pillage their houses, and destroy their property.” The people, however, were not at all apprehensive after having seen the invaders, who received assurances from all sides that their presence was acceptable to the masses. Capt. Jackson was informed that three or four companies of cavalry were picketed some three or four miles from Pensacola, on the road to Mobile, and subsequently learned that there were one thousand dragoons. The rebels burned two steamers, the Bradford and Neiffie lying at Pensacola, but succeeded in escaping up the bay with the old Time, a light-draught steamer, which made such a flight from the Navy-Yard, January first, when Pickens wished a party of drunken excursionists a “happy New Year.”

The wharves at Pensacola are but slightly damaged, Long Wharf being the principal sufferer. By the surrender of the town, Gen. Arnold secured between six and seven thousand feet of lumber. An extensive oil-factory in the outskirts of Pensacola, containing fifteen thousand dollars' worth of oil, was entirely destroyed, to prevent its falling into the hands of the Unionists. While the conflagration was at its height, the steamer Harriet Lane, with Commander Porter, of the mortar flotilla, on board, was running down the coast from Mobile. The unusual and startling appearance of the sky indicated that something of a serious nature was transpiring, and Capt. Wainwright steamed into Pensacola Harbor.

Capt. Porter, being desirous of cooperating with Gen. Arnold in reestablishing the dignity and enforcing the laws of the United States over this important position, despatched the following letter to his Honor the Mayor of Pensacola:

United States steamer Harriet Lane, Pensacola, May 10, 1862.
sir: I wish to confer with the authorities of this place, whoever they may be, civil or military, in regard to preserving good order in case there should be any disposition to commit excesses on unoffending and loyal citizens, and I wish to obtain information relating to late events and the destruction of public property. I take this opportunity to say that any abusive or disrespectful conduct, from mobs or other parties in this town, towards the persons belonging to the naval vessels of the United States, will be treated as an inimical act, and will be resented as if it was assault and battery. No one need fear any interference with their rights or property as long as they conform to good order.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

David D. Porter, Commanding Mortar Flotilla.

The Mayor replied that he had received the communication, and would be pleased to confer with Commander Porter on board the Harriet Lane, at his earliest convenience. He did so in the course of the morning. The interview failed to be productive of any considerable profit or encouragement to the naval commander.

The arrival of the Harriet Lane was most opportune.

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