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[14] other place on the Gulf was safe while the Federal troops held Fort Pickens, an almost impregnable stronghold, which could be taken only by an effective force and by bold and skillful movement.

The importance of Pensacola to Alabama in a military point of view rendered it an imperative duty of that State to aid in its defense, and 225 gallant Alabamians under Colonel Lomax were immediately ordered to Pensacola. At the same time the governor of Mississippi, at the suggestion of the governor of Alabama, ordered troops to repair at once to Mobile and there await orders to Pensacola. In the course of a few weeks these troops, also forces from Georgia, were encamped at Pensacola in readiness for action whenever it was deemed advisable by the commanding general to make an attack on Fort Pickens, or on such troops as would be eventually landed on Santa Rosa island to act in concert with the garrison. It was necessary that a strong military force should be concentrated to prevent a great Federal depot being established at this point, from which none of the gulf ports would have been free from annoyance or danger, especially Mobile and New Orleans. If confined to Fort Pickens the Federals could not concentrate any considerable body of troops there, and even though the other forts and the navy yard might be commanded by it, still they could not venture to occupy them while our forces were present in sufficient numbers, nor could they fit out an expedition for operations on other points. Though these demonstrations were apparently hostile, they were a necessary precaution for protection to the people of the Gulf States; and the unanimous feeling prevailed that no blood should be shed in the present state of affairs; that a Southern Confederacy must first be organized. During these exciting events telegrams were received by Col. William H. Chase, whom the governor appointed major-general commanding State troops, and by A. E. Maxwell, R. C. Campbell and C. C. Jouge of Pensacola, from Senator S. R.

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