Saturday, January 22, 2011

January 22, 1861 - The Confrontation Grows at Pensacola

Advanced Redoubt
This is part of a month-long series on the military aspects of the Secession of Florida from the Union, which took place 150 years ago this month.

January 22, 1861

The confrontation between Southern forces and the small group of U.S. soldiers and sailors holding Fort Pickens continued to grow late in the month of January. Cities both North and South watched and waited, citizens fearing that conflict could erupt at any minute.

In the North, people were able to follow the developments through dispatches telegraphed from Pensacola and New Orleans and published in newspapers across the Union. The following examples are from the Philadelphia Inquirer:

NEW ORLEANS, Jan. 19. – In reply to the demand for two thousand troops by the Governor of Florida, the Mayor of this city sent word that the men could be raised in forty-eight hours if Florida would equip them. The Governor of Florida replied “send them immediately.

There is great excitement here, and meetings are being held to to-morrow to raise the men.

Pensacola Bay from Fort Barrancas
NEW ORLEANS, Jan. 19. – The pilots of Pensacola have been notified not to bring in United States vessels under the penalty of death.

A ship is ashore nineteen miles east of Fort Pickens, supposed to be the store ship Supply….

PENSACOLA, Jan. 18. – A force of two thousand men have been concentrated in and about the Navy Yard, under the direction of State authorities, and troops are arriving from all directions.

The U.S. steamer Wyandotte is lying at the entrance of the harbor, and is communicating with Fort Pickens. The families of the U.S. officers stationed at the Fort have been placed on board the steamer, which is out of coal and other supplies, but is not allowed to enter the harbor.

Learn more about the history of Pensacola and the forts there at

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