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 minutes the flames of the public property could be distinctly seen at Pensacola. The custom house and commissary storehouses were not destroyed for fear of endangering private property, a thing I scrupulously avoided. As soon as the enemy could possibly man his guns and load them, he 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 rapidity 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 the camp tents, Fort McRee and Fort 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. . . . All 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 and iron; even the gutters, lightning rods, window weights, bells, pipes, and everything made of these valuable metals were removed.At Pensacola an oil factory was burned, the quartermaster's storehouses, some small boats, and three small steamers used as guard boats, and transports. The Federal troops took possession of the ruins of the navy yard and forts the next day, and on May 12, 1862, a force marched to Pensacola and raised the United States flag, beginning a hostile occupation which continued without interruption during the remainder of the war. The presence of the Federal forces was soon made forcibly apparent to the people of the surrounding country.
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