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the Wyandot must be a passive spectator! She might as well have been on the south side of Cuba, if these instructions had been obeyed.

Slemmer was now left to his own resources. He was in one of the strongest forts on the Gulf coast, but his garrison consisted of only eighty one souls, officers and men. There were fifty-four guns in position and fit for service, and five months' provisions. The casemate guns, of which there were fourteen in order, were 32-pounders. Beside these there were seven 12-pounders; one 8-inch sea-coast howitzer; one 10-inch columbiad; six field-pieces; and twenty-five 24-pound howitzers for flank defense. The garrison labored unceasingly in putting every thing in working order, doing guard duty, &c., for an attack was hourly expected.


On the 12th, Captain Randolph, Major Marks, and Lieutenant Rutledge, all in military dress, presented themselves at the gate of Fort Pickens, and demanded admittance as citizens of Florida January, and Alabama. They were not permitted to enter, but were allowed an interview at the gate with Lieutenant Slemmer. "We have been sent," they said, "to demand a peaceable surrender of this fort, by the Governors of Florida and Alabama." Slemmer immediately replied:"I am here under the orders of the President of the United States, and by direction of the General-in-chief of the Army; and. I recognize no right of any governor to demand a surrender of United States property. My orders are distinct and explicit." The intruders immediately withdrew, and Slemmer prepared for an attack that night, which was dark and stormy. All night long sentinels were posted beyond the glacis,' and the men stood at their guns.



On the 15th, Colonel William H. Chase, of Massachusetts, formerly of the United States Army, but now in command of all of the insurgent troops in Florida, accompanied by Farrand, of the Navy, who had just abandoned his flag, asked for an interview with Slemmer. It was granted. Chase informed him that he had full power from the Chief Magistrate of Florida to take possession of the fort, and he desired to do so without bloodshed. "You can contribute toward this desirable result," he said, “and, in my judgment, without the sacrifice of the honor of yourself or your gallant. officers and men." He said he came to demand a surrender of the fort, which was to be held subject to any agreement that might be entered into between the Commissioners of the State (Senators Mallory and Yulee, then in their official seats at Washington) and the National Government. "I would not counsel you to do aught that was dishonorable,” said the tempter. "On the contrary, to do that which will secure for you the commendation of all Christian gentlemen." He entreated him not to be guilty of allowing fraternal blood to flow. "Listen to me then," he continued, "I beg of you, and act with me in preventing the shedding of the blood of your brethren." He promised Slemmer and his garrison comfortable quarters at Barrancas, if he would only prove unfaithful to his trust; and, in conclusion, he said:-"Consider this well, and take care that you will so act as to have no fearful recollections of a tragedy

1 The glacis is the superior slope of the parapet of the covered way, extended in a gentle declivity to the surrounding country.

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that you might have avoided, but rather to make the present moment one of the most glorious, because Christian-like, of. your life." The Serpent could not charm the Patriot. Slemmer did so act as to make it the most glorious moment of his life, by first consulting with the Commanders of the Wyandot and Supply, and then positively refusing to give up the fort.'

The insurgents on shore now commenced preparations for assailing Fort Pickens, and on the 18th," Chase again demanded its surrender, saying he was re-enforced, and more troops were expected. Slemmer remained firm. Then commenced the siege of Fort Pickens, which will be considered hereafter.

While these events were transpiring near Pensacola,' the Convention at Tallahassee were working in harmony with the Legislature. They appointed Senators Mallory and Yulee, then in the Senate at Washington, commissioners to treat with the National Government concerning its property within the limits of Florida, and also appointed delegates to a general convention at Montgomery.

• January, 1861.


On the day after the Florida Ordinance of Secession was passed, the politicians of Alabama assembled at Montgomery, the capital of the State, committed a similar act of folly and crime. We have already observed the preliminary movements to this end, in that State, with Governor Moore as an active leader. The election of members of the Convention was held on the 24th of December, and, as in other States, the politicians were divided into two classes, namely, "immediate Secessionists" and "Co-operationists." The latter were also divided; one party wishing the co-operation of all the Slave-labor States, and the other caring only for the co-operation of the Cotton-producing States. The vote, as reported, for all but ten counties was, for secession, twenty-four thousand four hundred and forty-five; and for co-operation, thirty-three thousand six hundred and eighty-five. Of the ten counties, some were for secession and others for co-operation.

• 1861.

The Convention assembled at Montgomery on the 7th of January. Every county in the State was represented, and the number of delegates was one hundred. William Brooks was chosen President. On the same day, the representatives of Alabama' in the Congress at Washington, on consultation, resolved to telegraph to the Convention their advice to pass an ordinance of secession immediately.

The Convention was marked by a powerful infusion of Union sentiment, which found expression in attempts to postpone secession under the plea of the desirableness of co-operation. Resolutions of this tenor were offered on the 9th; while another proposed that the powers of the State should be pledged to "resist any attempt on the part of the Federal Government to


1 The foregoing brief narrative of the movements in Pensacola Bay, immediately after the passage of the Ordinance of Secession by the Convention of Florida politicians, is compiled chiefly from the manuscript report of Lieutenant Slemmer, now before me, made to Adjutant-General Thomas, on the 26th of January, 1861.

2 The city of Pensacola is eight miles northeastward from the Navy Yard, and about ten miles from the entrance to the bay. It contained about two thousand inhabitants at the time we are considering.

3 See page 60.

4 Benjamin Fitzpatrick and Clement C. Clay, Senators; James L. Pugh. David Clopton, Sydenham Moore, George S. Houston, W. R. W. Cobb, J. A. Stallworth, J. L. M. Curry, Representatives.


coerce any seceding State." After discussing various resolutions, it was finally resolved, by unanimous vote, that the people of Alabama would not submit to a Republican administration.

On the 10th an ordinance of secession was reported by the majority of a Committee of Thirteen, appointed to draft it, of whom seven were "Secessionists" and six "Co-operationists." It was longer than any of its predecessors, but similar to them in tenor. With that groundless sophistry and reckless disregard of the plainest historic truths which characterized the speeches and writings of the men of the State Supremacy school, they assumed that their commonwealth, which was created by the National Government, first a Territory and then a State," had “delegated Sovereign powers" to that Government, which were now "resumed and vested in the people of the State of Alabama." This was an act as sensible as if Man should say to his Maker, "I will resume the life I have delegated to you, vest it in myself, and henceforth there shall be no union between us!" The ordinance favored the formation of a confederacy of Slave-labor States, and formally invited the others to send delegates to meet those of Alabama in convention, on the 4th of February, in the city of Montgomery, for consultation on the subject.

The Alabama Convention was not harmonious. Some seriously discordant notes were heard. The Union element was not inclined to yield every thing without a struggle. There was a minority report on secession; and many men were favorable to postponing action altogether, until the 4th of March, with the hope of preserving the Union. So doubtful was the final result, that, so late as the 17th, a dispatch was sent by telegraph to the Alabama delegation in Congress, to retain their seats until further advised. This opposition exasperated the ultra-secessionists, and they became very violent. When, in the debate that followed the presentation of the two reports, Nicholas Davis, of Huntsville, in northern Alabama, declared his belief that the people of that section would not submit to any disunion schemes of the Convention, William L. Yancey, whose business for many months had been to "fire the Southern heart and precipitate the Cotton States into revolution," sprang to his feet, denounced the people of northern Alabama as "Tories, traitors, and rebels," and said they ought to be coerced into submission. This high criminal, who had talked so defiantly about the sin of "coercion" on the part of the National Government, when its authority was resisted, was now ready to use brute force to coerce Union-loving and loyal men into submission to the treasonable schemes of a few politicians assembled in convention! Mr. Davis was not intimidated by Yancey's bluster, but calmly assured the conspirators that the people of his section would be ready to meet their enemies on the line, and decide the issue at the point of the bayonet.


The final vote on the Ordinance of Secession was taken at about two o'clock on the 11th, and resulted in sixty-one ayes to thirtynine noes. This result created great joy. An immense mass meeting was held in front of the State House in Montgomery, during the afternoon; and weak-kneed "Co-operationists," carried away by the popular enthusiasm, pledged their constituents to a support of the ordinance. A secession flag, which the women of Montgomery had pre


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January, 1861.




sented to the Convention, was raised over the Capitol, amidst the firing of cannon, the ringing of bells, and the shouts of the multitude. There was no less excitement in Mobile, whither the news went with lightning speed. It continued until late at night, and was intensified by intelligence of the socalled secession of Florida. Government Street was filled with jubilant people of both sexes. They gathered in a dense crowd around a secession pole" that had been erected at the foot of the street, from the top of which a "Southern banner" was displayed. A hundred and one guns were fired in honor of Alabama, and fifteen in praise of Florida. The bells rang out merrily, and all business ceased. The crowd formed in procession, and followed a band of music, that played the "Southern Marseillaise," to the Custom House, over which waved a Lone-star flag. On all sides was seen the fluttering of women's handkerchiefs, and the voices of men speaking to surging crowds were heard, while the military thronged the public square and there fired salvos of artillery. At night the city blazed with fireworks of every description; and the most popular pieces of all were the "Southern Cross" and the "Lone Star.""


When the excitement of the hour was over, the Convention resumed its sittings. From beginning to end, these were in secret, and the public were indulged with only a crumb of intelligence that fell occasionally from the table of the conclave. It leaked out, however, that the Union feeling in the Convention was potently mischievous toward the ultra-secessionists, and that several delegates absolutely refused to sign the Ordinance, unless its action should be postponed until the 4th of March.

The Convention adjourned on the 30th of January until the 4th of March, after having resolved against the opening of the African Slave-trade, and making provision for the due execution of the Ordinance of Secession. At the close of the session, the President (Brooks) said: "The people of Alabama are now independent; sink or swim, live or die, they will continue free, sovereign, and independent. Dismiss the idea of a reconstruction of the old Union, now and forever." Soon afterward, Thomas J. Judge was appointed a commissioner to negotiate with the National Government for the surrender of forts and other property to the authorities of Alabama.

A week before the Ordinance of Secession was passed at Montgomery, volunteer troops, in accordance with an arrangement made with the Governors of Louisiana and Georgia, and by order of the Governor of Alabama, had seized the Arsenal at Mount Vernon, about thirty miles above Mobile, and Fort Morgan, at the entrance to the harbor of Mobile, about thirty miles below the city. The expedition to seize the Mount Vernon Arsenal was commanded by Captain Danville Leadbetter, of the United States Engineer Corps, and a native of the State of Maine.' For this purpose the Governor made him his special aid, with the rank of colonel. He left Mobile on the steamer Selma, at near midnight • 1861. of the 3d of January," with four companies of volunteers, and at dawn surprised Captain Reno, who was in command of the Arsenal. By

1 This man appears to have been one of the most fiendish of the persecutors of Union men in Alabaina and East Tennessee, at the beginning of the civil war. His atrocious conduct in East Tennessee is darkly portrayed by Governor Brownlow, in his Sketches of the Rise, Progress, and Decline of Secession, page 311.

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this seizure, the Alabama insurgents came into possession of fifteen thousand stand of arms, one hundred and fifty thousand pounds of powder, some cannon, and a large quantity of munitions of war.

At about the same hour on the night of the 3d, when Leadbetter started for Mount Vernon, Colonel John B. Todd, acting under the orders of Governor Moore, embarked, at Mobile, in the steamer Kate Dale,' with four companies of volunteers, for Fort Morgan. They reached it at about three o'clock in the morning, and at five o'clock they were in possession of the post. The garrison not only made no resistance, but an eye-witness declared, that when the State flag of Alabama was unfurled, in place of the National flag that had been pulled down, they cheered it. It was a bloodless conquest. One of the insurgents, writing at the fort that morning, said: "We found here about five thousand shot and shell; and we are ready to receive any distinguished strangers the Government may see fit to send on a visit to us." Fort Gaines, on Dauphin Island, opposite Fort Morgan, was taken possession of by the insurgents at the same time; and, on the same morning, the revenue cutter Lewis Cass was surrendered to T. Sandford, the Collector of the Port of Mobile, by Commander Morrison. On the 9th, five companies of volunteers left Montgomery for Pensacola, at the request of the Governor of Florida, to assist the insurgents of that State in the seizure of the forts and Navy Yard. These formed a part of the force to whom Armstrong surrendered his post.


When the Ordinance of Secession was passed, the Mayor of Mobile called for a thousand laborers, to prepare defenses for the city. These, and an ample amount of money, were at once supplied. The Common Council, in a frenzy of passion and folly, passed an ordinance, changing the names of several streets of the city which bore those of Free-labor States to those of places in the Slave-labor States. The name of Maine Street was changed to Palmetto Street; of Massachusetts Street, to Charleston Street; of New Hampshire Street, to Augusta Street; Rhode Island Street, to Savannah Street, &c. And now, at the close of January, the authorities of the State of Alabama, and of its commercial metropolis, were fully committed to the great work of treason, which brought terrible suffering upon large numbers of the peaceful citizens of that Commonwealth.

A week after the so-called secession of Alabama, the politicians of Georgia, assembled in convention at Milledgeville, the State capital, announced to the world that that Commonwealth was no longer a part of the great American Republic. We have already observed the preliminary secession movements in that State, under the manipulations of Toombs, Cobb, Iverson, and some less notable conspirators, and the reluctance of the greater portion of the more intelligent citizens to follow the lead of these selfish and ambitious men. Their exalted positions (one a Cabinet Minister, and the other two named, National Senators) enabled them to work powerfully, through subservient politicians, in deceiving, misleading, exciting, and coercing the people. Toombs, in particular, whose thirst for power and

1 This vessel was destroyed by a terrible powder explosion, at Mobile, on the afternoon of the 25th of May, 1863.

* Pages 51 to 58, inclusive.

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