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[39]

Late in February the disasters in Tennessee and Kentucky persuaded the war department to authorize the abandonment of the Florida ports, and General Bragg, who had been transferred to Mobile, ordered General Samuel Jones, then in charge at Pensacola, to make dispositions at the earliest moment, working night and day, to abandon the works, removing the heavy guns with ammunition to Mobile, and other supplies to Montgomery. His instructions were: ‘I desire you particularly to leave nothing the enemy can use; burn all from Fort McRee to the junction with the Mobile road. Save the guns, and if necessary destroy our gunboats and other boats. They might be used against us. Destroy all machinery, etc., public and private, which could be useful to the enemy; especially disable the sawmills in and around the bay, and burn the lumber. Break up the railroad from Pensacola to the junction, carrying the iron up to a safe point.’

General Jones immediately afterward succeeded Bragg in department command, and his plan of evacuation, as he stated, differed from Bragg's only in this: that he would detail Col. T. M. Jones and a few hundred men to accomplish the destruction as soon as an overpowering attack was made. Colonel Jones, left in command, sent out the valuable property as rapidly as possible until he was informed of the fall of New Orleans, when he removed the remaining heavy guns and ammunition, leaving the fortifications practically defenseless. On May 7th he was informed of Federal demonstrations at Mobile harbor, and determined to evacuate at once. All the sick and baggage were sent out on the 8th, and on the night of the 9th the infantry marched out toward Oakfield, leaving several companies of cavalry to begin the necessary destruction at a given signal. Precisely at 11:30 two blue lights were set off by Colonel Jones at the hospital, and were promptly answered with similar lights at the navy yard, Barrancas and Fort McRee, ‘and scarcely had the ’

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