|U.S.S. Wyandotte at Pensacola in 1861|
January 16, 1861
On the morning of January 16, 1861, 150 years ago today, Lieutenant Slemmer and the small force of U.S. soldiers and sailors in Fort Pickens were stunned to see the two U.S. Navy vessels in Pensacola Bay underway for the mouth of the harbor.
Lieutenant Gilman was sent in a small boat to intercept them and it was agreed that the U.S.S. Wyandotte would remain close by to assist the fort in case of attack and to carry the garrison to safety in the event they were overwhelmed by superior forces. With the assurance of assistance from the warship, Slemmer had a letter drafted to Colonel William H. Chase commanding the state forces besieging him that he would not lower his flag:
|Looking across to the Southeast Bastion|