In January 1861, the scene was set in Pensacola and the curtain almost drawn for the first major military confrontation of the Civil War. A crisis over federal property developed in Florida, and except for Fort Pickens at Pensacola and Fort Taylor in Key West, all government installations were seized. In Pensacola, both sides expected hostilities to begin immediately. The navy yard at Warrington, Barrancas barracks, and Fort McRee were taken peacefully, but Lieutenant Adam J. Slemmer, in command of the Pensacola forts, removed all of his men and as much equipment as possible from the other locations into the more strategically located Fort Pickens. At the same time, Florida’s senators, David L. Yulee and Stephen R. Mallory, were crystallizing their desire to capture Fort Pickens. Senator Yulee echoed the thoughts of many others in stating that “the naval station and forts at Pensacola are first in consequence.”
Dibble, Ernest F.
"War Averters: Seward, Mallory, and Fort Pickens,"
Florida Historical Quarterly: Vol. 49:
3, Article 4.
Available at: https://stars.library.ucf.edu/fhq/vol49/iss3/4