Determining the Facts
Reading 3: Key People and Critical Decisions
When once constructed, they [the forts] require but little expenditure for their support. In time of peace, they withdraw no valuable citizens from the useful occupations of life. Of themselves, they can never exert an influence dangerous to public liberty; but as a means of preserving peace, and as obstacles to an invader, their influence and power are immense.1
--Lieutenant Henry W. Halleck, U.S. Army, 1843
I called on Commodore Armstrong (Union Commanding Officer of the Navy Yard).... He had received orders to cooperate with me. We decided that with our limited means of defense we could hold but one fort, and that should be Fort Pickens, as it commanded completely the harbor and the forts and also the Navy Yard.2
--Lieutenant Adam J. Slemmer, U.S. Army, January 1861
We [the seceding states] seek not to war upon or conquer you; and we know that you cannot conquer us. Imbrue [stain] your hands in our blood, and the rains of a century will not wash from your hands the stain, while coming generations will weep for your wickedness and folly.3
--Florida Senator Stephen R. Mallory,
Chairman of the Senate Committee on Naval Affairs,
just prior to his resignation from the U.S. Congress, February 1861
...the possession of the fort [Fort Pickens] is not worth one drop of blood to us....4
--Stephen R. Mallory, secretary of the Confederate navy, 1861
Questions for Reading 3
1. Quotation 1:
a) In planning the nationís defenses, how would you decide whether to train thousands of soldiers (mass mobilization) for the threat of war or spend thousands of dollars (purchase defense) on the construction of immense forts that might never be needed?
b) Only about 50 soldiers were stationed in the area of Fort Barrancas in January 1861. Why do you think there were so few men there?
2. Quotation 2:
a) If you were Lieutenant Slemmer, how would you have located your soldiers and supplies among the forts in January 1861? Why?
b) If you were Lieutenant Slemmer, would you have surrendered when faced with the Confederateís demand? Why or why not?
3. Quotations 3 and 4:
a) Stephen R. Mallory, a former U.S. Senator and a Pensacola citizen, did all he could to bring about peaceful secession from the Union. He was instrumental in producing the "Truce of Fort Pickens" on January 28, 1861, which stated that the South would not attack and Fort Pickens would not be reinforced. List reasons why Mallory might have wanted to avoid bloodshed. Decide if you agree with either of his statements. Why or why not?
1 H. Wager Halleck, "Report on the Means of National Defence," printed in Senate Executive Document 85, 28th Cong., 2d. sess., 9.
2 War of the Rebellion: Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies (Washington, 1880-1901), series 1, vol. 1, 335.
3 Stephen R. Mallory, Pensacola Home and Savings Association, date unknown, 5.
4 War of the Rebellion: Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies (Washington, 1880-1901), series 1, vol. 1, 445.