From the Florida Forts.
, which left Hampton Roads
Friday for Fort Pickens
, with two companies U. S. Artillery, is nearly at her destination by this time.
Her entrance to the Bay
is to be opposed by the allied troops.
The Mobile News contains an interesting letter from the Navy-Yard
at Warrington, Fla.
, from which the following is an extract;
We of the Mississippi
and Alabama Regiment, containing eight Mississippi
and two Mobile
companies, under Col. Abert
, of Mississippi
are quartered at the U. S. Marine Hospital, just opposite Fort Pickens
, and about a mile and seven-eighths of a mile distant.
Fort San Carlos de Barrancas
is about half a mile south of our quarter.
It is a mile and a half distant from Fort Pickens
. Fort McCree is still further south, and is a mile and an eighth of a mile from Fort Pickens
.--We are in possession of all the military positions except Fort Pickens
It is on Santa Rosa Island
, which is forty miles long, and about one mile wide.
We can distinctly see the cannon on Fort Pickens
from our piazza.
Nearly all the guns have been shifted to the land side, and the most active preparations have been made for defence.
Our preparations consist in four Dahlgren
long thirty-two guns mounted at the Navy-Yard
, to rake the Bay
, and prevent any vessels from coming inside Fort Pickens
.--At Fort Barrancas
we have mounted about twenty-five 32-pounders.
At Fort McCree there are four Columbiads and a large number of heavy guns, none mounted, unless it has been done to-day.
mounts 215 guns, and requires a garrison of 2,000 men.--Its present garrison consists, as far as we can ascertain with certainty, of 83 soldiers.
Some sailors have been sent to it from the steamer Wyandotte
and the storeship Supply.
It is supposed that they could not spare more than fifty men. If this supposition is correct, the garrison does not exceed 133 men. A majority of this number are believed to be disaffected and averse to fighting us, but are compelled by military discipline.
The commander of Fort Pickens
is Lieutenant Slimmer
, of New England
He is a very firm and brave man, as I am credibly informed.
He will not surrender until he is compelled by an overwhelming force.
It would be a violation of military rules to give a statement of our strength.
We must humbug Slimmer, if we can. It is no secret about our strength in guns and batteries, for he can see them with his spy-glass.
Slimmer has a beautiful young wife, and she is very spirited.
She tells him to fight to the last.
She flew around us over this side, in such a way that she was arrested and sent away.
The U. S. steamer Wyandotte
, of eight guns, is lying near the fort on the outside, ready to assist in the defence.
is a very strong position.
On the water side it has three tiers of guns, two rows of casemates, and one of barbettes.
--Very few of them are mounted, and I suspect that Slimmer has closed up the lower casemates.
He is concentrating every art and means of defence on the land side.
On that side there is a great ditch, which would be a slaughter pen, if we were foolish enough to enter it.
There is vast deal of impatience and discontent among the troops, especially in our regiment.
The men are "eager for the fray," and are very free and outspoken in their criticism upon the loss of time by delay and inactivity.
If something is not done here by next Tuesday, there will be a revolt against the commanders.
I and my friends propose to leave on that day. I have no time to waste in garrison duty.
I submit to military prudence by withholding at present any discussion of the means proper to be used to take the fort.
I will say, however, that it can be
taken by our present force in twenty-four hours. I have prepared the plan, and it has been discussed night and day in my room, by numbers of officers.
I have submitted it to two resigned officers of the navy, and they heartily approve it. At a proper time I shall make it public.
We have killed one of Uncle Sam's soldiers in a rather amicable way. One of them was found at Fort Barrancas
, when the Alabama
troops took possession.
He was not made a prisoner, but allowed to stay or go as he preferred.
He chose to stay, and was bountifully furnished by the volunteers with victuals and bad whiskey.
He went in strong on whiskey, and this morning he was found dead in the adjacent woods.