Friday, January 24, 2014

Lt. Slemmer defended Florida's Fort Pickens

It is the birthday of Adam J. Slemmer (1828), who is best known in Florida history for defending Fort Pickens at the beginning of the Civil War. Slemmer was a lieutenant left in charge of a small contingent of troops at Fort Barrancas at Pensacola Harbor while his commanding officer was on vacation. When Florida seceded and it appeared that the Pensacola Navy Yard was going to be surrendered to the Confederates, Slemmer moved his troops across the bay to the vacant Fort Pickens on Santa Rosa Island, a position he considered more defensible if shooting broke out. The rest of Pensacola was occupied by Southern troops but Fort Pickens remained under Union control throughout the war. Slemmer went on to become a brigadier general and died at age 40 while in command of Fort Laramie in Wyoming.

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