Thursday, March 31, 2011

Fort Pickens

Fort Barrancas
The two major forts that were held by the North at the time of the South's secession were Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor, and Fort Pickens in Pensacola Bay, Florida. Most historians focus on Fort Sumter because that is where the crises eventually led to war, but at the time Fort Pickens in Florida was a major focus as well.

When Florida seceded, Lt. Adam J. Slemmer held Fort Barrancas in Pensacola Bay with 50 men. On the day of secession, he transferred his men to Fort Pickens, a dilapidated fort that had not been in use since the Mexican-American war. However, he thought Fort Pickens was more defensible, probably because of its isolated position.

Fort Pickens
A truce was agreed on between Slemmer and the Confederates that the fort would not be attacked unless they received more reinforcements. While more supplies and troops were needed, the situation was not as crucial as Fort Sumter. A few days after ordering supplies to be sent to Sumter, President Lincoln ordered an expedition to be sent to Fort Pickens as well. After the war began in Charleston, Fort Pickens was resupplied, and continued to be held by the North throughout the war.

Map of the forts in Pensacola Bay


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