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Doc. 13.-the evacuation of Pensacola.

Com. Porter's official report.

U. S. Steamer Harriet Lane, Pensacola, May 10, 1862.
sir: On the seventh instant I left Ship Island, with the steamers belonging to the mortar flotilla and the Sachem, for Mobile Bar, for the purpose of fixing on a place for the mortar vessels to lie, and to plant buoys for the ships to run in by when they should arrive. Great excitement seemed to exist within the forts on the appearance of our steamers. I have reason to think that Fort Gaines was evacuated, and some were of opinion that the troops were leaving Fort Morgan, but I think that they were reinforcing it from Fort Gaines.

One of our steamers, the Clifton, got ashore under the guns of Fort Morgan, which opened fire on her, and when they had got her range beautifully, and were throwing the shot over, they stopped firing. Lieut. Commanding Bald-win went to work coolly, and got his vessel off just as I sent him assistance, and while I had to cover him from Commander Randolph's gunboats, which were contemplating an attack on him. Thinking better of it, the Commodore went up to Mobile.

The weather being bad, I sent the steamers back to Ship Island, and staid myself to relieve Lieut. Commanding Febiger, while he went to Ship Island to coal. I cruised that night in shore to the eastward, in hopes of picking up some vessel trying to run the blockade.

At two A. M., a brilliant light illuminated the sky, and I discovered that the Navy-Yard at Pensacola, Fort McRea, the Naval Hospital, Warrington, and some parts of Pensacola, were in flames. Fort Pickens, bombarding with shell, we stood for, and when light would permit, entered the harbor of Pensacola. I found all the above-mentioned places burning fiercely, and mostly in ashes. Without communicating with the Fort, I proceeded to the town of Pensacola, where I found that Gen. Arnold had already sent Capt. Jackson, of the army, in the schooner Wood, to call upon the town to surrender. I sent for the Mayor on board the Harriet Lane, who promised that the citizens would behave themselves peacefully.

I found that the rebels evacuated the place on hearing that our steamers, the day before, were going to run into Mobile Bay, and the squadron and mortar flotilla would soon follow them. A thousand rebels were encamped five miles outside of Mobile. They had destroyed everything that time would permit. Fort Barrancas, the Marine Barracks, Muster-Office in the yard, one new stone building, the smithery, I believe, and the shears, are still in a fair state of preservation. The yard was so hot that I did not go into it.

Gen. Arnold having no steamer at command, and no means of transportation, I placed the Harriet Lane at his service, and at three o'clock had four hundred men, two pieces of artillery, and horses and some luggage-carts on the other side, when the troops took possession and hoisted once more the United States flag on the forts and Navy-Yard so long occupied by the rebels.

We land nine hundred more men on the other side to-night, when I shall proceed to hunt up some steamers for Gen. Arnold to keep open communication between the United States troops and to cover them if attacked. He is without any support of this kind, so necessary to a general in his position.

David D. Porter, Commanding Flotilla. Hon. Gideon Welles, Secretary of Navy.

Boston Journal account.

About half-past 11 o'clock on the night of the ninth of May, the garrison of Pickens and the troops encamped on the island were startled by the report of two hundred muskets, which the rebel picket-guard on the opposite shore fired in rapid succession. These were followed by two volleys of musketry, when signal-lights were sent up from McRae to Pensacola, and the work of destruction commenced. The rebels set fire to the combustible material in the water-battery below McRae, and immediately after flames burst out from that Fort, the Light-House, the Marine Hospital, and the Navy-Yard; the villages of Warrington and Woolsey, all the buildings between McRae and the yard, and from an extensive oilfactory in the outskirts of Pensacola. The vandals had made every preparation for the execution of their infamous design, intending to make a clean sweep of everything that had the stamp U. S. upon it, as well as the town of Pensacola itself and all the confederate steamers which they could not remove beyond our reach.

When the sentinels discharged their pieces, the officers at Santa Rosa thought the confederates had gained a victory, and took this method to manifest their joy. But when the flames leaped up at all the well-known points, within a radius of ten miles, their doubts were quickly dispelled, [49] and the truth flashed upon their minds as the guns — left loaded and spiked in the forts and batteries, heated by the flames — went off one after another, keeping up a brisk cannonade along the entire line of defence. By the light of the conflagration the rebels were seen running along the beach, carrying torches, with which they were firing everything that fell in their way — barracks, officers' quarters, wharves, the buildings in the Navy-Yard, and the frame of the ship Fulton, on the stocks.

The facts being reported to Gen. Arnold, the commander of Fort Pickens, he immediately ordered the beat of the “long roll,” and opened a tremendous cannonade from the barbette-guns and the water-batteries above the Fort, for the purpose of compelling the rebels to abandon their work of destruction and hasten the evacuation of the place. The firing was kept up five hours with the desired effect. The enemy were driven from the fortifications, and in their haste to escape, abandoned and left standing their camp, near the house of Gen. Chase, between the Light-house and Barrancas. Their tents and a large amount of equipments were secured. By this prompt and decisive action of Gen. Arnold the designs of the traitors were in a measure frustrated, and the result of the conflagration was not so disastrous as from its magnitude was at first apprehended.

Soon as the rebels had been dispersed, Gen. Arnold sent an officer to the blockading schooner Maria J. Wood, then lying off Fort Pickens, requesting the commander to come into the bay, which he did, being the first vessel that has passed under the guns of McRae and Barrancas for twelve months. The schooner proceeded up to the city of Pensacola, taking Capt. R. H. Jackson, aid-de-camp to General Arnold, and A. A. General, who was charged with a demand for the unconditional surrender of the place. He landed, and was met by about one hundred and fifty people, and who, with one single exception, manifested unbounded joy at the arrival of a representative of the United States authority. He found the wharves in flames, and directed the people to extinguish them. They promptly responded to his request — the negroes emulating the example of the white people, and chanting: “Dey have come at last, Dey have come at last.” Capt. Jackson proceeded to the house of Mayor Bobee, discovering as he went that the town appeared deserted, grass growing in the streets, and everything wearing a sad and forsaken appearance.

Upon the appearance of the Mayor, he made the demand for an unconditional surrender of the town and its defences; to which demand the Mayor said he complied to the extent of his authority, and added: “The confederates had so long held sway there, and usurped the power which rightfully belonged to the municipal authorities, that he did not know really how much authority he had left.” On returning to his vessel, Capt. Jackson was told that the confederates had attempted to excite the fears of the people by telling them: “As soon as the Yankees came they would be let loose upon them to outrage their women, pillage their houses, and destroy their property.” The people, however, were not at all apprehensive after having seen the invaders, who received assurances from all sides that their presence was acceptable to the masses. Capt. Jackson was informed that three or four companies of cavalry were picketed some three or four miles from Pensacola, on the road to Mobile, and subsequently learned that there were one thousand dragoons. The rebels burned two steamers, the Bradford and Neiffie lying at Pensacola, but succeeded in escaping up the bay with the old Time, a light-draught steamer, which made such a flight from the Navy-Yard, January first, when Pickens wished a party of drunken excursionists a “happy New Year.”

The wharves at Pensacola are but slightly damaged, Long Wharf being the principal sufferer. By the surrender of the town, Gen. Arnold secured between six and seven thousand feet of lumber. An extensive oil-factory in the outskirts of Pensacola, containing fifteen thousand dollars' worth of oil, was entirely destroyed, to prevent its falling into the hands of the Unionists. While the conflagration was at its height, the steamer Harriet Lane, with Commander Porter, of the mortar flotilla, on board, was running down the coast from Mobile. The unusual and startling appearance of the sky indicated that something of a serious nature was transpiring, and Capt. Wainwright steamed into Pensacola Harbor.

Capt. Porter, being desirous of cooperating with Gen. Arnold in reestablishing the dignity and enforcing the laws of the United States over this important position, despatched the following letter to his Honor the Mayor of Pensacola:

United States steamer Harriet Lane, Pensacola, May 10, 1862.
sir: I wish to confer with the authorities of this place, whoever they may be, civil or military, in regard to preserving good order in case there should be any disposition to commit excesses on unoffending and loyal citizens, and I wish to obtain information relating to late events and the destruction of public property. I take this opportunity to say that any abusive or disrespectful conduct, from mobs or other parties in this town, towards the persons belonging to the naval vessels of the United States, will be treated as an inimical act, and will be resented as if it was assault and battery. No one need fear any interference with their rights or property as long as they conform to good order.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

David D. Porter, Commanding Mortar Flotilla.

The Mayor replied that he had received the communication, and would be pleased to confer with Commander Porter on board the Harriet Lane, at his earliest convenience. He did so in the course of the morning. The interview failed to be productive of any considerable profit or encouragement to the naval commander.

The arrival of the Harriet Lane was most opportune. [50] Her services were immediately offered to Gen. Arnold, to transport troops to the main land, and she was thus employed all day yesterday and this forenoon. About twelve hundred troops, together with a large amount of light artillery, siege-guns, ammunition, camp equipage, horses and supplies, have been conveyed across the channel, and are now actively employed in establishing themselves upon the “sacred soil.” They have thrown up defences, planted cannon, and taken every measure to prevent a surprise, in case the enemy should attempt to repossess the forts, of which, however, there is not the slightest fear. The confederates have abandoned Florida, and I doubt if five hundred rebel soldiers can be found in the State to-day.

Last evening, Lieut. L. L. James, Second artillery, of Gen. Arnold's staff, with a boat's crew, crossed the channel to Fort McRae. Lieut. James raised the Stars and Stripes on the staff where the confederate rag has so long hung. A salute was fired in honor of the old ensign, and three cheers given for the Union and three for the flag. The Fort presented a sad spectacle of charred and smoking timbers, blackened walls and demolished masonry. The timber-flooring in all the casemates, which had sustained the upper tier of guns, was entirely consumed, as were the gates of the main salle porte, and the timbers of the blindages. Only three pieces of ordnance remained in the Fort--two thirty-two-pounders, from one of which a shot had been discharged during the conflagration, and the casemate howitzer, both spiked and dismounted. In the land-battery adjoining the Fort were found two pieces of peculiarly constructed rebel artillery, of the usual inoffensive character, but which occupied the places of two heavy rifled cannon which had been removed. The “Quakers” were the merest shams — not logs, but constructed of two wooden wheels for muzzle and breech, wooden slats forming the body of the piece.

The light-house was set on fire, but only slightly injured. Fort Barrancas sustained little injury from the vandals, owing to the incessant shower of grape poured into that work from Fort Pickens. It was damaged more by the bombardment of December and January than by the rebels, but still is in excellent condition. The redoubt is untouched. Casemates in the counterscarp gallery, in the old Spanish battery, and the redoubt in the rear of Fort Barrancas, are uninjured. Barrancas Barracks, an immense pile on the right of the Fort, escaped the torch of the incendiaries; but the magnificent naval hospital, said to be the finest structure of the kind in the United States, lies a mass of smouldering ruins. It was behind this hospital that Bragg had a heavy mortar battery during the first bombardment, and shielded from the fire of Pickens by the humane folds of the yellow flag which floated over the hospital, he kept up an incessant fire upon the Federal garrison. So general was the ruin of the towns of Woolsey and Warrington from the two bombardments, that there seemed but little remaining to feed the conflagration.

No minute examination has been made of these villages, but it is reported that neither of them has suffered severely by the evacuation.

The Navy-Yard presents a scene of ruin and desolation. Smoke and flames still rise from the burning timbers of the extensive store-houses, work-shops, and the wharves, all of which are destroyed. The skeleton frame of the old Fulton has vanished into thin air, and the stocks where she stood so long are now an ash-heap. The splendid granite dock appears to be unharmed, and its wooden duplicate lies a wreck under Deer Island. The shears are standing in the yard. The foundry-building and the blacksmith-shop are safe, and the tall chimney still erect. The rebels made every preparation to burn the Custom-House, but were probably driven away by the fire from Fort Pickens, as it is uninjured. All the government buildings outside the yard were burned.

The rebels removed all the heavy columbiads from the forts and batteries, but left many forty-two-pounders. When the fire broke out, twenty guns were seen in position from Fort Pickens.

The rebels left the keys of the magazines of McRae and Barrancas, and of the gates of the latter Fort, hanging against the walls outside, as if to invite their successors to walk in and take possession. But our troops were not to be caught with that chaff. The disposition of the keys had too much the appearance of a sinister design; and with a wariness which marks the true soldier, when venturing into the enemy's country, they avoided the trap which may have been laid to blow them up, and instead of entering the Fort by the main passage, they scaled the walls. The magazines of both forts will be excavated, in order to ascertain if the rebels left any infernal mechanism by which to destroy the Federals.

Bragg took away with him, in march, a large rifled cannon and ten-inch columbiad, which constituted the light-house battery. The armaments of the different batteries and forts at Pensacola at the time of the bombardment, as near as it can be ascertained, were as follows. There were forty-two guns on the island on which Fort McRae is situated, including the armament of that work and the water-batteries. There was a battery of two ten-inch mortars, and another of two ten-inch columbiads, just above the residence of Col. Chase, which also mounted between them three forty-twos and two eight-inch guns. The light-house battery, rendered famous by the destructive fire it poured into Pickens during the January bombardment, remains intact. The guns have been removed. In the rear of the light-house was a mortar, supposed to be a ten-inch sea-coast.

There were four batteries between the light-house and Barrancas, which mounted seven forty-twos and five eight-inch columbiads. Between Fort Barrancas and the barracks were four forty-twos in two batteries, which are still there, besides four ten-inch columbiads, which had been removed. Next to the hospital battery, to which I have referred, were four eight-inch columbiads, [51] which did not open fire. Next in order was Wheet's battery, consisting of two ten-inch columbiads and three thirty-twos; Church's battery, with one ten-inch and two smaller guns. There was a ten-inch columbiad mounted on a point in the Navy-Yard, and batteries of unknown number and strength lined the shore from the yard to Pensacola. At the mouth of Big Bayou there were two ten-inch and several smaller guns mounted. Nearly all the heavy guns used here were transported from Norfolk, after the seizure of that place by the rebels.

Mobile Register account.

Pensacola, May 10, 1862.
The scenes of last night closed the long campaign of Pensacola — of its history you are sufficiently familiar. The order for the destruction of the Warrington Navy-Yard, and all public property at that place and Pensacola that could not be moved, was successfully carried into execution at the Yard and Pensacola.

About half-past 11 o'clock, the signal being given by Brig.-Gen. Thomas Jones, in an instant the torch was applied at every point, and in a few minutes the whole works, gun-carriages, etc., in Forts Barrancas and McRae, and the hospitals, together with all the other buildings in the Navy-Yard proper, in the villages of Woolsey and Warrington, were in flames.

At the same instant the torch was applied to the oil-factory and all the government buildings in the city of Pensacola, and to the steamers at the wharf. The scene was grand, thrilling and sublime. The bay was as light as mid-day, while the murky clouds overhead reflected back an apparently liquid sea of fire. Fort Pickens could be plainly seen, and its garrison seemed to have suddenly aroused, astounded and surprised. In a short while, however, Pickens opened with shot and shell. Our boys, not relishing the compliments, instantly returned it from one or two smooth-bore forty-fours and thirty-twos, which quickly cleared the ramparts of Pickens of all sight-seers. Whether anybody was “hurt” is not known. Pickens seemed to be, and must have been, perfectly ignorant of our movements, and from the heaviness of its fire, was in a paroxysm of wrath and rage.

The task of dismantling the forts and batteries, and the removal of everything worth transporting, even to small bits of copper and lead, in the face and very teeth of an enemy, was one of a most difficult and delicate nature. This has been most admirably executed by Gen. Jones. The Federals can now take possession of an inhospitable sand-beach.

About half-past 7 o'clock in the morning a Federal sailing schooner ran up within about half a mile of the city, and sent a boat on shore with a flag of truce. The Federal officer was more anxious to find out what was going on and obtain information than anything else, for the manner in which he sailed up the bay was very cautious and prudent, as though he expected a rebel ruse and the destruction of the property the night before had merely been done to catch him and his little schooner.

He was promptly rebuked by a confederate officer, who was standing near by unofficially, by being told that he had no right to ask such questions under a flag of truce; a very proper rebuke, which the Federal officer seemed, for a rarity, to feel and appreciate.

The interview alluded to above was with Mayor Bobe. The surrender of the city was demanded and promptly refused. The Mayor was told that the city would be occupied during the day by the Federals, and that the people need not be alarmed, as they would be protected. In the boat's crew two deserters were identified.

The city is generally deserted, but few people remaining. The track of the railroad is torn up and the iron removed. The telegraph-office is closed and the wire removed.

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T. Arnold (11)
David D. Porter (6)
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May 10th, 1862 AD (3)
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