d forestalled his plan; and though the Pawnee and Cumberland were a really formidable force, which, with the infantry regiment, could have held the enemy in check until either reinforcements arrived or the property was removed—or, at least, until the work of destruction was completed—Paulding decided to burn the principal buildings, and abandon the Yard.
For this purpose parties were hurriedly organized; one under Commander Alden to prepare the storehouses and workshops; another under Commander Sands for the ship-houses; a third to distribute combustibles among the sinking vessels; and a fourth, under Commander John Rodgers, assisted by Captain Wright, to blow up the dry-dock.
An attempt was made to disable the guns that had been spiked, by knocking off the trunnions; but this was unsuccessful.
Shortly before two in the morning, the reports came from the various parties that all was ready.
A little delay was occasioned at this point by the Commandant of the Yard.
The veteran C