The Calvin Shedd Papers > Background > General Joseph C. Abbott

Major L. G. Arnold

Reference Letter Fort Jefferson and its Commander 1861-2. Reprinted from Journal Military Service Institution. New York: Governor's Island, 1910.
Fort Jefferson
Major Lewis G. Arnold, Second United States Artillery, was in command of Fort Independence, Boston Harbor from 1857 to 1861.  On January 5, 1861, General Winfield Scott ordered Arnold to embark with his company on a steamer for Fort Jefferson and take command of the fort.   If the fort were occupied by any hostile forces and they cannot be evacuated, he was then ordered to fall back and take command of Fort Taylor, Key West.  Scott hoped that taking control of these forts would help to stop the impending secession.  The major found Fort Jefferson inhabited only by workmen and the lighthouse keeper, but also incapable of being defended by attack.  Arnold sent to Key West for guns and munitions and work began immediately to mount the guns and further fortify the walls.   When Arnold was transferred, in September,1861, to Fort Pickens, Fort Jefferson was considered well defended, with over 100 guns and 500 well-disciplined men.