|Fort Barrancas and Pensacola Bay|
The engagement began when Union forces at Fort Pickens on Santa Rosa Island observed a steamer making its way to the Navy Yard wharf on the Confederate side of the bay. Colonel Harvey Brown of the Fifth U.S. Artillery, the commander at Fort Pickens, had opened fire on Confederate forces on the mainland once before in November. He did not hesitate to do so again:
|Cannon at Fort Pickens|
The Confederates, commanded by General Richard H. "Fighting Dick" Anderson, however, were not inclined to let the affair rest and opened fire using their guns at Fort Barrancas and other positions:
|Cannon at Fort Barrancas|
|Ruins of Fort Pickens|
General Bragg reported that General Anderson had been intoxicated at the time of the engagement, while Colonel Brown noted that, "I am impressed with the belief that General Bragg was not present, and that a less experienced and more hot-headed officer commanded."
It would be the last major exchange of fire between Union and Confederate forces for control of Pensacola Bay. The soldiers, as Brown noted, "seemed to consider it a New Year's amusement.
To learn more about Fort Pickens, please visit www.exploresouthernhistory.com/fortpickens1.
To learn more about Fort Barrancas, please visit www.exploresouthernhistory.com/fortbarrancas1.