Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Bombardment at Pensacola, Florida - Day 2

Map of Fort Pickens
The next day the bombardment at Pensacola was renewed, and continued until past midnight. This was the last day of fighting. The Confederate fortifications were not severely damaged, except for Fort McRee, which was severely crippled. Fort Pickens was not badly damaged, but the two warships were damaged, though not sunk. The casualties from these two days, as with many bombardments, were surprisingly low. The Federals suffered one killed and seven wounded, the Confederates 21 wounded. One Northern officer wrote this in his report regarding the surprising escapes which occurred:
The fire from the enemy’s batteries was heavy and well directed. There were many marvelous escapes from wounds. Among the most notable was that of Lieutenant Shipley, Third Infantry, and the detachment serving the 10-inch columbiad en barbette of his battery. A 10-inch shell struck the shell-proof and burst among his men and himself without wounding any one, although the sand and sand bags were knocked down over and around them.
USS Richmond
Strategically, this battle had little effect. After thousands of shots were fired, dirt was thrown around and a few men were wounded, the two forces were basically in the same situation as they started in. Bragg, the Confederate commander, concluded his report saying this:
But in giving this praise to human virtue let us not be unmindful of an invisible Power, which has ruled all things for our good. The hand of disease and death has been lightly laid upon us at a place and in a season when we had reason to expect much suffering and great mortality. And in the hour of our trial the missiles of death, showered upon us by an infuriated enemy, respecting neither women, children, nor the sick, have been so directed as to cause us to laugh at their impotent rage. Verily, “Except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain.”
Fort Pickens


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