James P. Jones


The spring of 1861 was a time of decision-making for the newly installed Lincoln administration. First on the agenda was the reinforcement and supply of Ft. Sumter, but an equally grave problem involved Ft. Pickens in Pensacola harbor. For several months a truce arranged between two members of President Buchanan’s cabinet and Confederate military authorities had been in force. This truce was an agreement not to reinforce Pickens if the Confederates promised not to attack. By March, 1861, Lincoln, Secretary of the Navy Gideon Welles, and General Winfield Scott were growing concerned over the Pensacola situation. The Pickens garrison remained pitifully inadequate and, though they had not attacked, rebel forces on the mainland were increasing daily in strength and belligerency.