Monday, December 19, 2011

Things Heating Up back in January 1861-- Part 2

The clerk from the Engineer Corps in Savannah alerted US Army Captain W.H.C. Whiting, Corps of Engineers, in charge of both Fort Pulaski and Fort Clinch in Florida about a movement by Georgia state troops to occupy Fort Pulaski, even though the state had not yet seceded.

Whiting, who later resigned and became a Confederate general (who helped design and defend Fort Fisher), proceeded quickly to Savannah and made this report to his superiors in Washington, DC:

"...This morning I proceeded to Fort Pulaski, which I found occupied by Colonel John Lawton. I was received with great civility, and informed by him that he held possession of all the Government property for the present, by order of the governor of the State, and intended to preserve it from loss or damage.

He requested a return of the public property, both Ordnance and Engineer, which I have given as existing January 1..."

Col. Alexander Lawton, the commander of the 1st Georgia Militia, had led a force of 150 men from the Savannah Volunteer Guard, Oglethorpe Light Infantry and Chatham Artillery aboard the steamer Ida and taken possession when Whiting arrived.

Lawton later became a Confederate brigadier general in charge of the defense of Georgia's coast. He later commanded a brigade in Jackson's Shenandoah Valley Campaign, the Seven Days Battles, Second Bull Run and was seriously wounded at Antietam. After a lengthy recovery, he became the Confederacy's second Quartermaster General.

In 1880, he became US senator from Georgia.

January 8th-- Possible first shots of the war fired at Fort Barrancas on Pensacola Bay, Florida.

January 9th-- The steamer Star of the West, under the employ of the US government was fired upon while approaching the besieged Fort Sumter garrison under Major Robert Anderson.

Hot Time in the Old Fort Tonight. --Old B-Runner

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