|U.S.S. Brooklyn (Library of Congress)|
January 24, 1861
Although he often is described by modern writers as a man who wavered in the face of the secession of the Southern states, President James Buchanan authorized expedition that set sail 150 years ago to reinforce Fort Pickens. It was a movement that easily could have sparked the Civil War that leaders of both sides claimed to hope to avoid.
In a well-known secret, the U.S.S. Brooklyn steamed out of Hampton Roads, Virginia, en route to Pensacola Bay. On board were reinforcements for the beleaguered Union garrison of Fort Pickens, as well as needed supplies for the fort. The two companies of artillerymen were commanded by Captain Israel Vogdes.
The departure of the Brooklyn, a powerful steam and sail powered warship, was known immediately in the Southern states, as is evidenced by a report that appeared in the Richmond Daily Appeal the next day:
|President James Buchanan|