From on board the Brooklyn; Affairs at Pensacola

New York Times, 27 March 1861

MARCH 27, 1861

Fort McRea, now in the hands of the State troops, is built on a low sand spit of the main land, and it appears to rise out of the water. The bank is situated upon what is called Foster's Bank, and overlooks the west side of the mouth of Pensacola Bay. It is what they style a "bastioned" fort, built of brick masonry, with walls some fifteen feet in thickness. It is made for two tiers of guns, under bomb-proof casements, and has one tier en barbette. As far as I am able to ascertain the present armament consists of -- en barbette, 58 24 pounders and 3 ten-inch columbiads; lower tier, 24 42 pounders; second tier, 16 32 pounders and 13 eight inch columbiads. This fortification cost the Federal Government $450,000. In time of war a complete garrison would consist of 700 men. Its guns radiate at the different points of the horizon. The batteries so much talked of as being erected along the beach, amount to the utmost to some ten or fifteen 32-pounders, stolen from the forts they so gloriously captured. As I assured you yesterday, we can reinforce Fort Pickens at any moment the Government desires it.

We are still subject to the humiliating spectacle of witnessing the United States steamer Wyandotte entering and departing from the harbor under a flag of truce.

No one feels this bowing of the knee to these insurgents more deeply or keenly than Capt. BERRYMAN, the brave and patriotic commander of this vessel. He, with the rest of his officers and his crew, deserve the thanks of all those who still love the Union of the States, and, if I am not woefully mistaken, they will receive it, "Honor to whom honor is due."

"We have for our edification a dozen rumors every day. First it is that all the forts are to be given up, and then that they are to be reinforced immediately. The one thing we care and hope forts, that something definite (we care not what) may immediately transpire, so as to enable us to leave this wretched place.

It has been reported to me that, a few days since, 100 negroes ran away from Milton, a small town some 35 miles above Pensacola. Four of them were caught on Santa Rosa Island by Lieut. SLEMMER's force, and given up by them to the authorities. The balance has gone to some more hospitable region, I surmise, and more will follow, as such occurrences will be the inevitable result of secession.

We have heard that the revenue cutter Harriet Lane has been ordered here; we all hope this may be true, as we are fairly dying to hear from home. Your correspondent has not received one line from the North since he has been stationed here.

We obtained President LINCOLN's Inaugural upon the 6th inst., it being published here in the journals of that day. Excepting in a few instances it gave much satisfaction, and was universally commended by those on board of this vessel.

The British brig Harness, which was detained at Warrington for several days on account of a mutiny of the crew, left there on the 14th; the affair having been settled satisfactorily to all parties by Capt. HOLMES, who acted the part of pacificator. The destination of this vessel was Queenstown.

Brigadier Gen. BRAGG, it has been ascertained, will make the Warrington Navy-yard his permanent headquarters.

The steamer Ewing, on the morning of the 11th, brought several ladies from Alabama, who came to join their husbands who are doing military service at Pensacola.

The names that the Secessionists give us are worthy of preservation in being unequal in delicacy to anything yet attempted by them. They style us "Blackhearted Black Republicans," and our good old vessel, the "Black Devil of the Gulf." Flattering isn't it.

P.S. -- I open this letter to communicate the important fact that the authorities on shore have forbidden all communication with the ships. This would be extremely bad were it not that the Captain of a Mobile vessel near us has already made arrangements with our Captain to supply us with the necessities of life. This gallant Captain says he and many others in Mobile are willing to trust the Federal Government to any amount; and he also says that in that city the secession movement is rapidly coming into disfavor, and the original conspirators of it are getting alarmed.


Appended is the order of Major-General BRAGG, cutting off supplies from the "United States fleet off Pensacola:


NEAR PENSACOLA, FLA., March 18, 1861.

The Commanding General learns with surprise and regret that some of our citizens are engaged in the business of furnishing supplies of fuel, water and provisions to the armed vessels of the United States now occupying a threatening appearance off this harbor.

That no misunderstanding may exist oh this subject, it is announced to all concerned that this traffic is strictly forbidden, and all such supplies, which may be captured in transit to said vessels, or to FortPickens, will be confiscated.

The more effectually to enforce this prohibition, no boat or vessel will be allowed to visit Fort Pickens or any of the United States naval vessels without special sanction.

Col. JOHN H. FORNEY. Acting Inspector-General, will organize an efficient Harbor Police for the enforcement of this order. By command of

Brigadier-General BRAXTON BRAGG.

ROBERT C. WOOD, Jr., Asst. Maj. Gen.