For one, I am disposed to forego these once honored, but now useless reflections, and for a time to recur to the scenes of the past, simply to note down my recollections as an eye-witness and observer of the movements and operations of the ‘Army of Pensacola,’ and subsequently of Mississippi
, while commanded by General Braxton Bragg
, thinking the same will be appreciated by those who followed the varying fortunes of his standard, but were not behind the scenes, and hence could not know so much as I.
If, as one of his little, but solid army of Pensacola, I should be led to write aught in these lines which could be interpreted into a partial narrative, I desire it to be attributed to my high appreciation of that officer's worth, whether displayed in the arduous and ungrateful returns incident to the organization and disciplining an army, or skill exhibited in planning and executing a campaign, or unflinching courage brilliantly shone forth on the field of battle, and not to an invidious spirit, hoping to do injustice to others whose mead of praise arising from Southern bosoms, is deservedly overflowing.
campaign.—as a member of one of the first companies who left (March 27th, 1861), the borders of his home to participate in the threatened struggle, which soon thereafter assumed and continued to maintain gigantic proportions, I was ordered to Pensacola
where General Bragg
was hastily but surely organizing his little army which was afterwards to play a conspicuous part in the great drama of war. I pass hurriedly over the incidents of his bold threatenings of Fort Pickens
, and the masterly defensive cordon of forts and batteries extending from the Navy Yard
to and beyond Fort McRea, a distance of nearly five miles, the whole being equidistant from Fort Pickens
, conceived in his brain, and erected under his immediate supervision, as well as the bombardment of Fort Pickens
, we will soon notice him in a broader and nobler, if possible, field of action.
The first incident of importance and which looked like work after the burning by the enemy of the dry-dock in Pensacola harbor, was on the night of September 3d, 1861, when about three o'clock in the morning, five launches from Santa Rosa Island
, distant two miles, containing about thirty men each, manning a pivot howitzer, with muffled oars quietly landed at the Navy Yard
under cover of the darkness, and led by an officer with the courage of a Numidian lion, succeeded in burning the large schooner of our harbor police.
They were not discovered until very near the wharf, and not in time to call out the troops, before the schooner was boarded with the