The presence the navy has been a factor in the history of Pensacola almost since the moment that Florida became an American possession in 1821. The action by Congress in 1825 of selecting Pensacola as the location for a navy yard put Secretary of the Navy Samuel L. Southard, and ultimately the commissioners whom he appointed to determine the site for that establishment, in an unenviable position. Acting under pressure from Congress, the secretary ordered the commissioners to Pensacola before a study by the government to ascertain the most suitable location for a navy yard on the Gulf of Mexico had been completed. Thus, they, like Congress earlier when it chose the location, had little professional advice to guide them in their selection of the site. For that matter, it was subsequently learned, there was no suitable place in Pensacola Bay for a navy yard; the primary function of which was to build and repair ships. Indeed, its lack of natural advantages even precluded the fulfillment of the limited criteria Secretary Southard established to guide the commissioners in making their selection. Even so, in the long run, the site selected under conditions laying stress on haste, proved to be propitious for the navy’s future needs, and consequently established a long, friendly, and profitable relationship between the Pensacola community and the navy.
Pearce, George F.
"The United States Navy Comes to Pensacola,"
Florida Historical Quarterly: Vol. 55:
1, Article 5.
Available at: https://stars.library.ucf.edu/fhq/vol55/iss1/5